MJT Lewis has published a work that is a combination of classical scholarship and pragmatic experimentation, Surveying Instruments of Greece and Rome. Among other things, he has undertaken a comprehensive study of the limits of accuracy that are attainable using modern reconstructions of ancient instruments. Graceful Roman arches, built about 2,000 years ago, held up a carefully crafted water course more than 50 km long, from a rural spring to the city of Nimes. The chorobates was a tool used to get a horizontal reference by sighting along the top. A modern writer, who tried it, doubts its usefulness. The Roman practice of reducing a problem of irregular shapes to a series of manageable-sized orthogonal blocks may have been primitive; however, it got remarkable results. The recent interest in applying modern analytic and experimental techniques to the study of ancient engineering has inspired a good deal of research. Hubert Chanson, a reader in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland in Australia, has published several papers on the subject and has mounted an introductory website, ‘Some Hydraulics of Roman Aqueducts’. The site gives numerous references to other literature, including experimental work by himself and V Valenti in 1995.

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