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Materials Humans Use

Humans use a tremendous number of resources; here are a few and what they are used for.

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The Roman Coliseum

The Roman Coliseum


Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roma06(js).jpg
Source: Jerzy Strzelecki
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

One of the bloodiest places the world has ever seen – outside of a battlefield – was the Roman Coliseum. Gladiators battled other gladiators, animals, and condemned criminals. The building was one of the architectural triumphs of Ancient Rome.

Amazing But True!

Credit: pwjamro
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28879143@N05/4812756445/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Inside the Roman Coliseum [Figure2]

  • The Coliseum was built in only 10 years, from 70 AD to 80 AD.
  • Romans were resourceful. The materials they used were rocks or mostly modified from rocks: travertine, tuff, tiles and concrete.
  • Travertine is a form of limestone that was used for the main pillars of the arches. Travertine slabs were secured to the outer wall of the building with iron clamps.
  • Tuff is solidified volcanic ash that was used in the cement and as infill.
  • Tiles were made of sand, straw and ash.
  • Romans developed Roman concrete, made of ash, pumice and quicklime. Concrete allowed their buildings to be larger and more complex.
  • Quicklime is made by heating limestone in a kiln until it undergoes a chemical reaction that makes a thick paste.

Show What You Know

With the links below, learn more about the Roman Coliseum. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why did the use of the arch allow the Romans to make such a large building?
  2. How could such a large and complex structure be built in 10 years without modern machinery and fossil fuels?
  3. Why didn’t the Romans just use stone to create their Coliseum?
  4. Why was the floor of the coliseum covered with sand?
  5. Where were the animals kept?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roma06(js).jpg; Source: Jerzy Strzelecki; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: pwjamro; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28879143@N05/4812756445/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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