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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

Is it possible that the Ancient Romans beat us with their aqueducts?

For hundreds of years, the Anio Novus aqueduct carried water 87 km (54 miles) from the Aniene River of the Apennine Mountains down into Rome. Built between AD 38 and 52, scholars continue to struggle to determine how much water the Anio Novus supplied to the Eternal City—until now.

By studying limestone deposits that formed from the flowing water within the aqueduct, called travertine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers reported in the Journal of Archaeological Science an actual estimate for the aqueduct’s flow rate of 1.4 m^3/s (± 0.4).

Travertine Reveals Ancient Roman Aqueduct Supply

For hundreds of years, the Anio Novus aqueduct carried water 87 km (54 miles) from the Aniene River of the Apennine Mountains down into Rome. Built between AD 38 and 52, scholars continue to struggle to determine how much water the Anio Novus supplied to the Eternal City—until now.

By studying limestone deposits that formed from the flowing water within the aqueduct, called travertine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers reported in the Journal of Archaeological Science an actual estimate for the aqueduct’s flow rate of 1.4 m^3/s (± 0.4).

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