Sunday, November 04, 2007

20-foot section of Aurelian Wall Collapses

"A 20-foot section of Rome's ancient Aurelian Wall collapsed near the capital's central train station after days of heavy rain, a conservation official said yesterday.

The wall, part of a 16th century restoration, crumbled into a pile of bricks Thursday evening after water infiltrated the section, said Paola Virgili, an official in charge of the wall's restoration. No one was reported hurt.

The Aurelian Wall — named after the third century emperor who built it to defend the city against the first barbarian onslaughts — surrounds Rome with more than 11 miles of fortifications, towers and gates.

Experts had previously determined that the entire wall section in the area, a 1,100-foot stretch in the north of the capital, was in danger of collapsing and they had planned to start restoring it Monday."

I thought it interesting that a section repaired in the 16th century collapsed while the majority of the Roman wall that is almost 1700 years old did not. Obviously masonry techniques had not yet regained the level of the ancient Romans by the 16th century.