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Roman engineering

A street in Pompeii, paved with stone slabs. The town of Pompeii was buried in ash when the volcano Vesuvius erupted in AD 79. The Romans were skilled builders and engineers. After conquering a region, they were quick to construct new buildings, roads and aqueducts (for carrying fresh water). Good roads allowed soldiers, messengers and the delivery of supplies to make progress in all weathers. Most towns had public baths that anyone could visit. These were an impressive feat of engineering, with central heating and water brought in via an aqueduct.

The Romans built roads, aqueducts and forts across their empire. Many survive today.
The Pont du Gard aqueduct in southern France, built in AD 40–60

Materials and techniques

Roman architects and engineers built many amazing structures that still stand today. Their invention of concrete, a mixture of quicklime, volcanic ash, stones and water, gave them a building material that was both strong and light. Many Roman buildings and structures have concrete cores, faced with marble, stone or brick.
Rounded arches were much used by the Roman engineers. The architectural strength of this shape allowed the construction of bridges and aqueducts across wide valleys.


The Romans built 85,000 km (53,000 miles) of fully surfaced roads across their empire.

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