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18th-Century Water Pipes Discovered in Edinburgh

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Scotland Edinburgh Water PipeEDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—A network of wooden water pipes has been found beneath Edinburgh’s city center, according to a report in the Edinburgh Evening News. Fifteen pieces of the elm piping were found at George Square as part of construction work on a new underground heating system at the University of Edinburgh. The pipes were part of an underground network built in 1756 to supply the city with clean drinking water from surrounding rural areas. “To uncover these water pipes preserved in situ beneath the cobbles was just incredible,” said Lindsay Dunbar of AOC Archaeology Group. “Whilst the use of such wooden pipes is well-documented and preserved examples exist within museums and collections, to find the pipes in situ is much rarer.” The pipes were extremely well preserved, allowing archaeologists to note details regarding their construction and joining techniques. The wood pipes, which were prone to rotting, were eventually replaced with cast iron ones. For more on the archaeology of water systems, go to “Rome’s Oldest Aqueduct,” which was one of ARCHAEOLOGY’s Top 10 Discoveries of 2017.

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