CL/AT 250 - Building for Eternity. Construction Technologies in the Ancient Roman World

A common reaction when faced with the magnificence of ancient Roman architectural remains is to wonder how such structures were completed without the advantages of modern technology. The course intends to explore the engineering techniques and production systems used in the construction of the architectural masterpieces of the Roman world by carefully looking at the various types of archaeological evidence. By identifying and examining sophisticated construction processes, use of materials and building practices, it is possible not only to reconstruct the technological environment that made possible the completion of such monumental and long lasting structures but also to observe how many of today’s technological solutions – cranes, concrete, water supply and more - actually originate from sophisticated systems developed in antiquity. From aqueducts to concrete domes, from roads to marble architectural elements,  the course will make ample use of field studies and sites to observe directly the evidence of construction methods and to discover the economic, industrial, organizational, and technological processes that lie behind the creation of the astonishing monuments of ancient Rome.

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