Roman-Built Underwater Aqueduct, Longest of Ancient World, Found in Jordan
"The aqueduct ended in Gadara, a city with a population of approximately 50,000. According to the Bible, this is where Jesus exorcized demons and chased them into a herd of pigs."
(Jordan)—The Romans were certainly amazing engineers, and the recent discovery of a "sensational" Roman built underground aqueduct in Syria (modern-day Jordan) — the longest of its kind in the ancient world—lends yet more credence to the Roman empire’s engineering might.
A March 11 report in Der Spiegel details how the Roman’s legendary love of copious amounts of readily available water was thwarted in Palestine when they invaded the land shortly before the birth of Jesus, because the area was simply too arid.
The underground canal system, discovered by Mathias Döring, a hydromechanics professor in Darmstadt, Germany, extends a distance of about 66 miles, longer than the longest previously known underground water channel of the antique world—in Bologna, Italy—which is only 19 kilometers long. Locals reportedly called the ancient Syrian/Jordanian pipeline system the "Canal of the Pharaohs." (Photo by: Mathias Döring)
Notes the report: "The massive undertaking was launched around the year 90 A.D….The [Roman] soldiers chiseled over 600,000 cubic meters of stone from the ground… This colossal waterworks project supplied the great cities of the "Decapolis"—a league originally consisting of 10 ancient communities—with spring water. The aqueduct ended in Gadara, a city with a population of approximately 50,000. According to the Bible, this is where Jesus exorcized demons and chased them into a herd of pigs."
Concludes reporter Matthias Schulz: "It took 120 years to complete the subterranean enterprise. Then the water finally gushed and bubbled from below. Mineral deposits in one section near Abila reveal that 300 to 700 liters per second rushed through the canal. The genius of Rome had managed to transform this part of the Levant into a veritable Garden of Eden.
"And yet there was an overwhelming sense of disappointment in Gadara. Even the mega-aqueduct in Jordan attests to the tragic truth that nothing created by the hand of man is ever perfect. The original plan called for the water to fill a high stone reservoir that would feed the city’s fountains and the planned temple to the nymphs. But that never happened. Since the surveyors ended up making a number of miscalculations, the reservoir could not be filled, and the fountains never went into operation."