Military Geotechnics in the Ancient World: Geo-Innovating the Hard Way

by Dimitrios Zekkos, P.E., Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Associate Professor; Ann Arbor, MI,,

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2016, Vol. 20, Issue 1, Pg. 34-38

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: The technical expertise that is now part of geotechnical engineering was of paramount importance in the ancient worlds. This is because before, but also after, the invention of siege equipment, nearly all available defending or attacking techniques involved the excavation, transportation, and/or placement of soils or rocks to construct fortification walls and towers, excavate trenches and tunnels, or construct ramps, levees, and embankments. Although military geotechnics expertise in the ancient world was purely empirical, numerous case histories demonstrate the defining role that experienced engineers played in the outcome of military expeditions. This article highlights some characteristic examples of the role of military geotechnics in the ancient world.

Subject Headings: Military engineering | Geotechnical engineering | Excavation | Case studies | Equipment and machinery | Rocks | Walls | Trenches


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