Pompeii’s 2,300-year-old drains can be used even today!
Pompeii’s ancient drainage system is in such good condition that it is set to be put back into active service, despite being built almost 2,300 years ago.
A 1,500ft stretch of tunnels underneath some of the famed Italian city’s most iconic structures was originally built to drain water downhill away from Pompeii’s centre.
Analysis of the tunnels revealed they had been almost untouched for millennia and the complex system is still in excellent condition.
The fact we can use them is testament to the excellent engineering skills at the time.
The network is complex but structurally sound and the project revealed that the tunnels were built in three distinct phases.
Initially, the system was constructed in the late 3rd or early 2nd century BC, in the so-called Hellenistic phase, by the Samnites who inhabited the city before the Romans.
It was then expanded by the Romans using their famed engineering know-how in the 1st century BC before being put on pause for almost a century.
Evidence inside the tunnel showed its third and final potion was built in the years preceding the devastating 79AD eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed the city.
Did you know
The city of Pompeii was unearthed by accident during the digging of a water tunnel in 1599. Real excavation didn’t begin until the 1700s.