Handbook of Ancient Water Technology

By Örjan Wikander | Go to book overview

I.6 ENGINEERING WORKS

A. Trevor Hodge

For the Roman engineer, the ideal aqueduct was one running just below the ground, and the arches and bridges that so excite our admiration were something to fall back on only when it could not be helped. Naturally, that does not mean that, once the arches had to be there anyway, the Romans were insensible to their spectacular appeal; but it does mean that the arches represented only a small fragment of the whole aqueduct, while they are the first thing we think of, and sometimes the only one. This is like trying to form a picture of a complete railway system only on the basis of its bridges and viaducts. Though such works might be accepted only as an unavoidable necessity, they did, of course, exist, and still do. Such engineering works fall into three categories. The first, carrying the conduit through inconveniently located mountains, are tunnels. The second, carrying across valleys and gorges, are bridges. The third, carrying it across broad open plains, where the object is simply to keep the water level high enough to provide proper service at the point of delivery, are arcades.


Tunnels

It is not strictly accurate to speak of tunnelling under a mountain. The object being to dig as short a tunnel as possible, if at all, the best way to deal with a mountain was to go round it. But a ridge, a col, or a long projecting spur, would have to be pierced, there being no way round. Once the surveying had been done and the line of the tunnel marked out, there were two ways of digging it. One was to start simultaneously at each end and meet in the middle. This, as we have seen in the sixth century tunnel of Eupalinos on Samos (above, pp. 42–3), was a technique that goes remarkably far back in history. Though it sounds extremely sophisticated, in fact it has several disadvantages. One is that, there being only two workfaces, only two crews can be working at once; and, given the restricted

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Handbook of Ancient Water Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction ix
  • I. Water-Supply 1
  • I.1 - Geological Background, Climate, Water Resources 3
  • I.2 - Collection of Water 21
  • I.3 - Wells 29
  • I.4 - Qanats 35
  • I.5 - Aqueducts 39
  • I.6 Engineering Works 67
  • I.7 Purity of Water 95
  • Ii. Urban Use 101
  • Ii.1 - Urban Water Transport and Distribution 103
  • Ii.2 - Industrial Uses of Water* 127
  • Ii.3 - Drainage and Sanitation* 151
  • Iii. Irrigation and Rural Drainage 181
  • Iii.1 - Irrigation 183
  • Iii.2 - Water-Lifting 217
  • Iii.3 - Land Drainage 303
  • Iv. Larger Hydraulic Infringements on Nature 319
  • Iv.1 - Canals 321
  • Iv.2 - Reservoirs and Dams 331
  • V. Water-Power 341
  • V.1 - Theoretical Hydraulics, Automata, and Water Clocks 343
  • V.2 - The Water-Mill 371
  • V.3 - Industrial Applications of Water-Power 401
  • Vi. Water as an Aesthetic and Recreational Element 411
  • Vi.1 - Fountains and Nymphaea 413
  • Vi.2 - Water Landscaping 453
  • Vi.3 - The Water Management of Greek and Roman Baths 467
  • Vii. Water Legislation in the Ancient World (C. 2200 B.C.–c. A.D. 500) 537
  • Vii.1 - Mesopotamia, the Hittites and the Arabian Peninsula 539
  • Vii.2 - Egypt 551
  • Vii.3 - The Greek World 557
  • Vii.4 - The Roman World 575
  • Viii. Historical Context. the Socio-Economic Background and Effects 605
  • Viii.1 - The Neolithic and Bronze Ages 607
  • Viii.2 - The Iron Age, and the Archaic and Classical Periods 617
  • Viii.3 - The Hellenistic Period 631
  • Viii.4 - The Roman Empire 649
  • References 661
  • Indices 703
  • 2. Index of Personal Names 713
  • 3. Geographical Index 718
  • 4. Subject Index 735
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