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Ancient Roman workers who lived in Pompeii before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 used molten iron to repair the city's streets.
Researchers suggest that iron droplets, spatters, and stains found on newly uncovered roads once buried by the explosion are evidence of ancient street repairs.
Discovery - Method - Roman - Street - Repair
The discovery reveals a previously unknown method of ancient Roman street repair and represents 'the first large-scale attestation of the Roman use of molten iron'.
Molten iron would have filled the holes and ruts and hardened into a smooth surface when poured over it.
Routes - City - Months - Time - Experts
Repaving would have been expensive and would have blocked important routes through the city for months at a time, experts say.
The repeated passage of carts on the city's stone-paved streets eroded away ruts and holes that made travel difficult, say researchers from the University of Massachusetts.
Molten - Iron - Holes - Researchers - Pompeii
After the molten iron was poured, it filled the holes and hardened as it cooled down but researchers found that sometimes 'accidentally spilled' while being carried onto Pompeii's streets.
Other materials such as stone, ground-up pieces of terracotta and ceramics were also inserted into the holes to help fill them up.
Method - Repair - Street - Team
This method of repair was cheaper and faster than repaving a street, the team found.
Professor Eric Poehler, a classics professor at the university who led the study, said it would have posed a problem for the people of Pompeii since some of the city's many streets could become eroded quickly.
Investigations - Pompeii - Volumes - Traffic - Streets
Investigations at Pompeii have shown that particularly high volumes of traffic concentrated in narrow streets could wear down even a stone-paved surface in only...
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