Hydraulic evaluation of the design and operation of Ancient Rome's Anio Novus aqueduct

D. Motta*, D. Keenan-Jones, M. H. Garcia, B. W. Fouke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


This paper evaluates conveyance and flow characteristics for the Anio Novus, the aqueduct bringing water from the greatest distance to ancient Rome. Travertine accumulations, deposited from water on floor and walls, were used to reconstruct the flow rate and associated spatial and temporal variations. Hydraulic quantities (e.g., flow depth and velocity) markedly varied over the course of the aqueduct, implying that constraints such as topography and construction techniques were combined with hydraulic considerations to determine the aqueduct layout. Design practices differed along the aqueduct and channel size design was not based exclusively on anticipated carrying capacity, tending towards larger-than-necessary design based on experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1174
Number of pages25
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Aqueduct
  • Conveyance
  • Hydraulic simulation
  • Imperial Rome
  • Travertine
  • Water


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