Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Archaeologists unearthing parts of an underground Roman aqueduct in Lincoln have found the first evidence that it was actually used, contrary to previous thinking.

The aqueduct, near Lincoln’s Nettleham Road, has been known about for centuries, and archaeological investigations of it were carried out in the 1950s and 70s, with no firm evidence for their ever carrying water being found. However, with the recent start of a housing development on the site, the time came for sections of the piping to be removed and studied thoroughly.

Why might they build such a thing and never use it? You have to read a bit further down:
The Roman plumbing system is constructed from a series of terracotta pipes surrounded with ‘Roman concrete’, a lime mortar mixed with brick dust and chips (opus sigininum). The sealed construction meant that theoretically, water could be pressurised and transported uphill.

And apparently there is an uphill component to the system, so it is plausible that it could have been built for this purpose, but they were unable to make it function as designed. Should be interesting to see if it really could have worked.