Romans Repaired Pompeii Streets With Molten Iron

EnolaGaia

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This approach to stone pavement repair seems surprisingly odd enough. The mystery lies in how the Romans were able to use molten iron for such mundane maintenance purposes.
Ancient Romans Used Molten Iron to Repair Streets Before Vesuvius Erupted

Ancient workers used molten iron to repair Pompeii's streets before the historic and devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, a team of archaeologists has discovered.

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" ...

Many of Pompeii's streets were paved with stone, but during a survey in July 2014, archaeologists found that over time, the passage of carts eroded those stones to form deep holes, or ruts. Repaving streets was an expensive and time-consuming process, historical records and archaeological remains show. ...

"One option for repair, complete repaving in stone, was a difficult and expensive endeavor that might block important through-routes in a city for months," the researchers wrote in their paper.

This posed a problem for the people of Pompeii, since some of the city's many streets could become eroded quickly. ...

The team found that "the Pompeians devised another option [for street repair] that was ingenious and unconventional: after heating iron or iron-rich slag to a molten state, they poured out hundreds of individual repairs onto, into and below the paving stones of the city's most important streets," the researchers wrote.

After the molten iron was poured, it filled the holes and hardened as it cooled down. In addition to iron, other materials such as stone, ground-up pieces of terracotta and ceramics were also inserted into the holes to help fill them up. This method of repair was cheaper and faster than repaving a street, researchers found. ...

"How the Romans introduced liquefied iron material into the streets at Pompeii remains a mystery," the researchers wrote. ...
FULL STORY (With Illustrations): https://www.livescience.com/65479-ancient-romans-used-molten-iron-street-repair.html
 

Mythopoeika

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EnolaGaia

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Would it not have been easier for them to have used molten lead?
Melting iron is a LOT more difficult.
Yes - lead should have been more economical to use, and its use as a sealant is well documented in Roman metal work.

On the other hand, lead is soft and wouldn't hold up under the street loads and impacts nearly as well as iron.
 

Mythopoeika

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Yes - lead should have been more economical to use, and its use as a sealant is well documented in Roman metal work.

On the other hand, lead is soft and wouldn't hold up under the street loads and impacts nearly as well as iron.
But embedding the lead with chunks of stone would have worked OK.
 
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