The tomb of Roman woman Caecilia Metella helped reveal the secret of the stability of ancient concrete

Boston, Oct. 12. The example of the Roman tomb of Caecilia Metella has helped uncover the secret of the stability of ancient concrete. The study was conducted by specialists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


The tomb of Caecilia Metella is a circular tower of large stones of volcanic origin which support concrete. At the time the site was built, the builders used materials from a frozen lava flow. Today the walls are over two thousand years old, but the concrete is still strong.


In the construction of the tomb were used tephru, sediments of material deposited on the ground after a volcanic eruption. Scientists have found large amounts of leucite in the stones used in construction. This material is of magmatic origin and is rich in potassium. Over time, the material has acquired a nanocrystalline lattice that has strengthened the adhesion of the particles that make up the concrete.


The unique sarcophagi, decorated with bas-reliefs depicting Eros, were discovered during the excavation of a necropolis in the Turkish province of Bursa.


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