Friday, September 25, 2009

Will it stand for another 2000 years?

Posted by Will it stand? at 5:51 AM

Even in these technologically advanced times, the massive Roman structures of the first century impress. Perhaps the Romans' most astounding feats were related to their ability to move water. The Pont du Gard of southern France brought fresh spring water nearly 50km from northern highlands to the Roman city at Nîmes. On the way the ancient engineers had to build a 275m long bridge over the Gardon River.

The Pont du Gard is comprised 56 stone arches. The six lower arches are most impressive, 22m high and 6m thick. Making the story of its engineering even more incredible is the fact that it was constructed without the use of mortar. The precision site surveying and construction sequencing were also feats for the ancient world. Remnants of the shoring system can still be seen in the form of stone corbels protruding from the face of the arches. It's amazing to think that block and tackle could be used to lift stones weighing up to six tons. Nevertheless, it's estimated that the Pont du Gard was erected in 3 years, employing up to 1,000 workers.

In the middle ages, the Pont du Gard served as a pedestrian bridge across the river. At one point in history, the middle level of arches were chiseled back to provide a wider platform for horse cart traffic. Fortunately, the bridge has survived that defacement, centuries of forceful river surges and local seismic activity.

The Pont du Gard is an amazing structure. Standing in it's presence, one reflects on the permanence of its construction. How will structures built today age? Will they seem as elegant to our progeny 2000 years from now? The Romans were building an eternal empire; what are we building for? Please contribute with your comments below or add to the willitstand wiki.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

0 comments on "Will it stand for another 2000 years?"

Post a Comment

 

Will It Stand? Copyright 2009 Reflection Designed by Ipiet Templates Image by Tadpole's Notez