Pont du Gard: The Art of a Gentle Slope!

This article comes from the journal Science et Avenir hors-serie n° 198 dated July–August 2019.

The Romans loved water! And left no stone unturned to dispose of it in abundance. at 1Is In the century of our era, he built a prestigious work to lead it to Nmes, a 52-kilometre aqueduct. Yet the city always benefited from a complete water table and multiple sources. How does it matter! Around 40–50, to capture the new waters, they set their sights on the site of the Fountain of Ure, Fontes Urey. The crow flies from Nmes 20 kilometers away, the source visible at the gates of Uzs.

a real technical demonstration

From the source to the city, water flows by gravity through the aqueduct, with an extremely low slope: 24.8 centimeters per kilometer… A real technical demonstration! A precise topographical survey enabled the architects to design a variety of structures, respecting the inclination required for flow: bridges, tunnels, arcades, regulating basins… among them, the Pont du Gard, which stretches to the Gardens. , still impresses today: three levels, 50 meters high, with 6 arches on the first floor, 11 on the second and 35 on the third. The 11 million stones extracted from a soft limestone quarry located 500 meters downstream are not required by mortar, but by oak tenons. The bridge still bears traces of the scaffolding used during construction.

Credits: Jean-Daniel Sudress / AFP. via Aurimage

at 4I century, their interview has slowed

According to the archaeologist Jean-Luc Fitches (died 2012), the aqueduct operated optimally for about two hundred years. from the fourthI century, its maintenance has decreased. With more roots and vegetation, the deposits left by the current changed in nature, indicating that the water that circulated there was undoubtedly used for irrigation. And when at the beginning of the sixthI Centuries, Franks and Visigoths invaded the area, reusing the stones for their churches and cemeteries. The bridge has withstood floods and weather…

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