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Romans repaired roads with liquid iron

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman road in Pompeii
The section of road A is full of deep ruts; B is the area after repairs; section C is destroyed again

A group of researchers: Eric Poehler from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Juliana van Roggen and Benjamin Crowther from the University of Texas in Austin (USA) came to interesting conclusions, studying the roads in Pompeii.

Roman roads – despite their professional construction – were often damaged because of use and weather. Interestingly, as mentioned above scientists noted that on the streets of Pompeii, you can see numerous droplets, chips and iron stains. They found such cases 434 times.

The above observations clearly suggest that defects, ruts and holes in the roads (which were not only dangerous but also uncomfortable for travellers) were just fulfilled with molten iron so that the streets could be used without problems. Interestingly, even traces of ceramics were found, which served as a complement to the roads.

Picture A shows a drop of iron; B, C and D stain.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the road maintenance works in Pompeii were probably carried out by slaves belonging to the city authorities.


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