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The Roman Pantheon: The Triumph of Concrete

Research by David Moore, P.E.

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Roman concrete was the building material of choice for Roman builders

Roman Concrete

This section includes articles on Roman Concrete that attempt to explain how the Romans were able to create such durable structures, even when compared against modern concrete construction. A thesis presented here is that the "secret" does not so much lie in the ingredients, as some believe, but instead results from low water ratio and placement.

Table of Contents

1. Secrets of Roman Concrete

2. The Riddle of Ancient Roman Concrete

3. The Pantheon

4. Roman concrete experiments

5. How I Became Interested in Roman Concrete


1. Secrets of Roman Concrete [Top]

By Various Authors. This is the September 2002 special issue of CONSTRUCTOR magazine, published by the Association of General Contractors (AGC). This issue includes articles on Roman concrete, Roman construction, the Pantheon and materials for educators. Includes interviews with David Moore (author of The Roman Pantheon: The Triumph of Concrete) and David Macaulay (author of many popular books on construction). Download full PDF versions of the Sept 2002 articles from the Resources page or from the AGC web site.

2. The Riddle of Ancient Roman Concrete [Top]

By David Moore. This article describes the technology ancient Rome used to develop a unique form of concrete to create enduring structures which we marvel at today. A thesis presented here is that Roman concrete has similarities in ingredients and placement to roller compacted conrete used in modern day dam construction. First printed in The Spillway, a newsletter of the US Dept. of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Region, Feb. 1993.

3. The Pantheon [Top]

By David Moore. This article describes the unique construction and materials, including Roman concrete that were used in this magnificent example of Roman construction. The Pantheon is one of the oldest intact buildings in the world, and its primary structural component is Roman concrete. An extract from the book by Mr. Moore.

4. Roman concrete experiments [Top]

David Moore has been experimenting with recreating Roman concrete using original or similar ingredients. Here are results of the efforts.

August 28, 2004 - First batch experiments with Mt. St. Helens ash

October 3, 2004 - Castings with Mt. St. Helens ash

March 2, 2005 - Cured results of Mt. St. Helens ash failed

September 2, 2005 - Castings with Mt. Vesuvius ash from Italy

4. How I became interested in Roman Concrete [Top]

By David Moore. What would cause a retired civil engineer to devote years of his retirement to the study of ancient construction practices? What is there to learn from the Romans and their structures that, in many cases, still stand today? Can we expect our buildings to be around two thousand years from now?

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