The Atlas Project of Roman Aqueducts (ROMAQ)

The project aims to localize and collect all publications on ancient aqueducts within the borders of the Roman Empire, focusing on roman aqueducts built in the period 400 BC to 400 AD. By necessity, we concentrate our attention on the large aqueducts that served cities and towns, although we also include interesting small aqueducts that served villas and sanctuaries. We have started this initiative because of the following reasons:

  1. Ancient aqueducts are a valuable element of the joint cultural heritage of all people in the Mediterranean basin
  2. They are a unique source of scientific data. Aqueducts give information on knowledge levels in hydrology and civil engineering in the ancient world, and on the social life and history of cities; aqueducts can also give unique information on earthquake activity in the Mediterranean basin which can help us to understand the dangers posed by specific geological faults in the Earths crust. Finally, travertine deposits in aqueducts carry information on land use, deforestation, and the climate in roman times.
  3. Aqueducts are vulnerable and much more likely to suffer damage and destruction than the remains of towns or sanctuaries which can be fenced in. Aqueducts are harder to protect because they are narrow, ribbon-like structures in the topography, commonly away from centers of habitation and (apart from the bridges) not preserved as attractive and photogenic ruins.

One important reason that aqueducts are commonly damaged or destroyed is that there is no central database of the location of their remains. ROMAQ aims to improve this situation in the following manner:

  1. By setting up this database of the presently known roman aqueducts and the corpus of published literature on roman aqueducts. We presently have localized over 4000 publications in 23 languages describing over 1300 aqueducts. We aim collect pdf’s of all publications in our Thomas Ashby Digital Repository (TADIR). We presently have over 2000 pdfs stored.
  2. By collecting all published topographic data on aqueducts and storing this information in a GIS platform
  3. By publication of a printed atlas of the known roman aqueducts, including photographs, maps and detailed information


Although our team builds and administers ROMAQ, we heavily rely on the help of ROMAQ users to improve and expand the database. Please send us references to publications that have not been included yet, or even copies or pdf’s, and point out any errors in the database.