Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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A Little Too Good Volume 57 Number 3, May/June 2004

The fabled skill of Roman engineers left British archaeologists excavating the Vindolanda military fort in Northumberland both amazed and annoyed at the discovery of a 2,000-year-old water main that was still functioning. Constructed of bored alder trees joined together with oaken pegs in A.D. 100, it brought spring water to buildings on what was probably hospital grounds. But it flooded the excavation trenches, forcing archaeologists to pump them out daily and confounding their work on the original 13-acre site, made famous by the discovery three decades ago of 1,700 writing tablets that illuminate life on the Roman frontier.

© 2004 by the Archaeological Institute of America