We all know those Roman aqueducts, the arched wonders of the ancient world. But did you ever wonder what happened afterward, on the way to Rome (where all roads led, as well)?
For example, I had not known until I read this article that the bulk of the famed Roman aqueduct system was underground:
“The famous arched, over-ground aqueducts we see today are just the tip of the iceberg; 95% of the network ran underground,” says Marco Placidi, head of the speleologists group [engaged in mapping the system], which is sharing its results with Italy’s culture ministry.
Slaking the thirst of the fast-growing imperial capital meant linking it to springs many miles from the city. The ancient Roman engineers were equal to the task, supplying a quantity of water that modern engineers didn’t manage to match until the 1930s.
One of the aqueducts is still in use today. Now, that’s infrastructure! And others might have survived as well, had not the German tribes dealt them some parting blows back in the fall-of-the-empire days. The system was built with incredible solidity.