Roman Building Techniques Brought to Light

Discovery Channel: A perfectly-preserved store of slake lime has shed new light on Roman building techniques. Nearly 2,000 years ago, a floor in the Villa dei Quintili in Rome collapsed, burying building materials including white slake lime, bricks, sand and marble, and protecting them for discovery by 21st century archaeologists. Rita Paris, who is in charge of the dig, believes that this was part of the large estate's building yard. The slake lime, which still works perfectly, has only previously been found in small amounts, making this discovery very important.

"The typical use for slake lime was either as a plaster or as a mortar between bricks. The Romans mixed the lime paste with sand, and applied it to the surface of walls or used it between bricks," David Moore, author of The Roman Pantheon, The Triumph of Concrete, told Discovery News.

The villa was built by the Quintilius Brothers but confiscated by Commodus in 182 CE after the brothers plotted against him. Rennovations would have been ongoing at the time the floor collapsed.

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