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Ancient Roman IOUs Found Beneath Bloomberg's New London HQ

National Geographic News

It is one of an astonishing trove of 405 ancient Roman writing tablets unearthed during the construction of the new European headquarters for Bloomberg LP in the City of London. The three-acre (1.2-hectare) construction site along Queen Victoria Street rapidly grew into London's single largest archaeological excavation of all time and exposed an entire Roman street scene from the first century A.D. that yielded thousands of exquisitely preserved personal artifacts, from leather boots and jewelry to this intriguing collection of personal correspondence, loan notes, bills of sale, and court documents, some featuring the names and addresses of the earliest Londoners.


Watch This Robot 3D Print a Building Out of Spray Foam

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

Construction seems like an industry that, were I still living in Silicon Valley, I would be tempted to call "ripe for disruption." Researchers at the MIT Media Lab agree, pointing out in a paper just published in Science Robotics that construction "relies on traditional fabrication technologies that are dangerous, slow, and energy-intensive." Hey, sounds like a job for some robots, right? The Media Lab's paper introduces the Digital Construction Platform (DCP), which is "an automated construction system capable of customized on-site fabrication of architectural-scale structures." In other words, it's a robot arm that uses additive construction techniques to build large structures safely, quickly, and even (in some cases) renewably.


Robotic Construction Platform Creates Large Buildings on Demand

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

Construction seems like an industry that, were I still living in Silicon Valley, I would be tempted to call "ripe for disruption." Researchers at the MIT Media Lab agree, pointing out in a paper just published in Science Robotics that construction "relies on traditional fabrication technologies that are dangerous, slow, and energy-intensive." Hey, sounds like a job for some robots, right? The Media Lab's paper introduces the Digital Construction Platform (DCP), which is "an automated construction system capable of customized on-site fabrication of architectural-scale structures." In other words, it's a robot arm that uses additive construction techniques to build large structures safely, quickly, and even (in some cases) renewably.


Gaza workers discover what could be an ancient church

U.S. News

Palestinian tourism officials say construction workers in the Gaza Strip have discovered what they believe to be a Christian religious site from the Byzantine era. Heyam al-Bitar, research director for the Hamas-run Tourism and Antiquities Ministry, said on Tuesday that the discovery included remnants of marble Corinthian pillars, foundations and crowns, some of them with a Greek cross. She says the ruins likely belong to a church-like structure that existed in what is now Gaza City. She says they date back to the sixth century, and are characteristic of the era of Emperor Justinian. The items were discovered during construction of a shopping center.


Was Ancient Rome tech better?

FOX News

The Roman Empire may be long gone, but its architecture has stood the test of time -- most notably, its insanely durable concrete, which has been hailed as the world's strongest. The building material, which still remains intact and stronger than ever in many places, has long puzzled scientists who couldn't fully explain why it was so remarkably strong, or why modern efforts to duplicate its strength have fallen flat. Now, new research suggests that the ancient concrete's unique mixture had a little help from Mother Nature in becoming one of the best building materials humanity has ever known. Roman concrete was typically made with a mixture of volcanic ash, rock, and lime, and while that recipe has been known for several years, scientists couldn't pinpoint what it was that caused the combination to be so well suited for construction, especially on harbors and piers where modern concrete would deteriorate rather rapidly. By studying samples of the concrete and putting it through various tests, scientists working on the Roman Maritime Concrete Study were able to determine that a chemical reaction between the concrete and seawater was the missing piece.