Pnt du Gard – Great pictures, but these don’t provide any sense of scale. In the aeiral image, look at the road that runs along the river to the left. There are people on the riverbank in several pictures looking up at the underside of the bridge. This thing is really, really big.
What’s the problem?
Rather than return to Italy after the Roman army had conquered the south of France, the Roman soldiers built the city of Neme. However, the only source of water was miles away. The Romans were great builders so they solved the problem of delivering water to the city by building an aqueduct.
- Ask – Where was the nearest source of fresh water? How much water would be needed for all the people who would be living in the city?
- Imagine – What was needed was an artificial river that would flow from the source of the water to the city. Could this be built using the materials and tools and manpower available?
- Design, Build – There is a deep valley between the water source and the city. The Roman soldiers built a huge “bridge” over the valley so the water would flow through the trough on the top of the bridge. This man-made waterway is called an aqueduct. The French word for bridge is pont.
- Improve – in addition to constructing the huge bridge, the Romans had to make the aqueduct carry water. They had to adjust the grade of the pipe s and troughs so the water would flow. They also had to line the aqueduct to keep the water from leaking out.