Why Ancient Roman concrete lasts for millennia but ours crumbles in decades

Scientists solve the mystery of why 2000-year-old Roman concrete still stands strong.

Drilling at a marine structure in Portus Cosanus, Tuscany, 2003. Photo credit: J. P. Oleson.

Scientists resolved the mystery of why coastal structures built by ancient Romans 2,000 years ago are still standing. The concrete used by Roman builders in piers and harbors was made in such a way that it grew even stronger over time. Modern concrete, by comparison, tends to decay in just decades when exposed to saltwater. These findings could have an important role to play as many communities worldwide brace for rising sea levels.

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