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How Medieval Bridges Were Built—An Animation

Europe Renaissance

Building a bridge over water is a daunting task, and despite the many technological progresses, the basics have remain unchanged since ancient times. First a cofferdam is constructed on the riverbed and the water inside this enclosed structure is pumped out, exposing the muddy button. Upon this ground the piers of the bridge are erected.

Photo: Rasto SK/Shutterstock.com

During middle ages, the cofferdam was built using several rows of logs driven into the mud. This was made watertight using mud and reinforced with sand. Water was then pumped out from the pit by a water wheel. The subsoil was most likely reinforced using wooden piles driven with a pile driver. Upon this, a wooden foundation grate composed of oak beams and planks was placed. This grate was fixed with large round stones, which were interconnected by wrought iron bars. Once the foundation was prepared, the masonry of the pillar could…

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