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Athena Review Image Archive: Roman Gaul

Map of the Roman Aqueduct to Nîmes

At least 44 million gallons (20,000 m3) of water were brought in daily to the Roman town of Nemausus (Nîmes) via an impressive aqueduct system of 50 km from springs at the Fountaine d'Eure in Uzès. Built by Roman engineers throughout the 1st century AD, the aqueduct route went around the east side of the higher Massif Central, following a total gradiant of about 17 meters through a series of some 35 km of tunnels. The Gardon valley was spanned with aqueduct bridges, the most intact remaining today at Pont du Gard.

Other sections of the aqueduct may be seen at Bornegre, where a 17 meter portion survives where the channel first emerged from tunnels. Near Vers is a fragmentary 700 meter bridge section called Pont Rue. Near Pont du Gard is a smaller bridge remnant at Pont de Sartanette. Two 60-meter tunnel sections may also be seen at Sernhac, where ancient pickaxe marks are still visible.

When the water reached Nîmes, it was stored in a large holding tank called a castellum, from which it was piped to all parts of the city.

[Fig.1: Map of the Roman aqueduct to Nîmes (after Bromwich 1996).]

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