The Ancient World's Longest Underground Aqueduct

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engineers chipped an aqueduct through more than 100 kilometers of
stone to connect water to cities in the ancient province of Syria.
The monumental effort took more than a century, says the German
researcher who discovered it.

When the Romans
weren’t busy conquering their enemies, they loved to waste massive
quantities of water, which gurgled and bubbled throughout their
cities. The engineers of the empire invented standardized lead pipes,
aqueducts as high as fortresses, and water mains with 15 bars (217
pounds per square inch) of pressure.

In the capital
alone there were thousands of fountains, drinking troughs and thermal
baths. Rich senators refreshed themselves in private pools and decorated
their gardens with cooling grottos. The result was a record daily
consumption of over 500 liters of water per capita (Germans today
use around 125 liters).

However, when
the Roman legions marched into the barren region of Palestine, shortly
before the birth of Christ, they had to forgo the usual splashing
about, at least temporarily. It was simply too dry.

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13, 2009

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