Chariot Ruts

      In the lower right of the photo we see where a stepping stone has been removed from its original location. Drivers of animal-drawn conveyances in the first century had to maneuver around the large stones. Fitting the wheels into the space between these stepping stones, at this intersection near the Forum Baths, shows us one of the many examples of ruts worn in the basalt pavement by years of traffic with wagons and chariots. From these ruts we know that there was a standard axle length in this part of the Roman Empire. The axle had to be consistently high enough off the road to allow the chariot or wagon to pass over the stepping stones. One could not build a useful wagon without complying with these legal standards in the first century.
map of Pompei

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