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Concrete in the Roman Empire

By Ray Laurence

Our undergaduates have been writing blogs for Professor Ray Laurence’s unit: The City of Rome. They can choose any topic to research and develop. Ben Turnell developed a fascination with Roman concrete, but the rest of the class did not necessarily share his enthusiasm. To convince them he introduced puns - setting his argument in stone! Ray and his class were treated to a concrete moment each week and Ben went from strength to strength developing knowledge and humour. Read the blog post on Concreting the Empire!

Reading the blog – we learn about the technology behind Roman construction drawing on the modern scientific analysis of standing remains in Rome. Concrete really is a subject that ought to be better known and to sit alongside modern perceptions of say the Ides of March and Caesar’s murder. Ray Laurence commented that: ‘Ben’s blog reveals both his knowledge of the subject and his joy in entertaining a class of serious Roman historians, many wished to discuss propaganda - but he put them straight and drew their attention to the wonders of Roman concrete.’ BEWARE THIS BLOG CONTAINS PUNS!

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Ray Laurence

Ray Laurence is Professor of Ancient History at Macquarie University (Australia). Previous to his move to Macquarie University -- he was Professor of Roman History and Archaeology at the University of Kent (UK). He has published prize-winning books on Pompeii: Roman Pompeii: Space and Society and Pompeii: The Living City. His work based in Archaeology, History and Classics is characterised by a cross-disciplinary aspect that causes it to be accessible and of wider interest to architects, landscape historians, geographers and urbanists. Of particular interest is his work on the relationship between the physical form of the Roman city and its residents. He has also published extensively on Roman roads and communications, childhood and ageing, quantitative approaches to Latin inscriptions and approaches to cultural change in the Roman Empire. In addition, he has written scripts for cartoons that can be found on TED.Ed that have attracted more than 11 million views on YouTube.