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Author Lynne Lancaster wrote Concrete Vaulted Construction in Imperial Rome first as a thesis, then continued researching for another two decades. The result is both fascinating and frustrating. Fascinating in opening up the technology and context of Roman construction.

Frustrating because it is a researcher's book - for most readers there will be too much detail.

Roman concrete was generally a mix of highstrength mortar and rubble-sized stone. It was laid on centring rather than poured. Lancaster looks at the development of the Roman construction industry in all its detail. This invention survived Rome's decline of course, with wisdom passed to us through a succession of buildings. Concrete Vaulted Construction in Imperial Rome by Lynne C Lancaster.

Cambridge University Press, 2005, £55.

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