Engineering The Impossible

One of the world’s leading engineers investigates the greatest buildings of history to reveal the mysteries behind some of the most innovative engineering feats of the ancient world.


Rome and Egypt produced some of the greatest architectural wonders of the world. The ingenuity and precision behind the Colosseum, Rome’s extensive water system, and the pyramids has enabled these monuments to stand the test of time, even paving the way for modern designs today.

But how exactly did the ancient architects build these structures and overcome engineering challenges that would test even the best architects and construction engineers today?

In these specials Steve Burrows, one of the world’s top structural engineers, uses modern techniques and expertise to discover just how these ancient masterpieces were constructed, and uncover the complex technology used to build them. He looks behind the surface of the structures and brings his technical insights to reveal many of the techniques used.

Steve works with a team of experts, including historian Melinda Hartwig, engineer Chris Carroll and architect Charlie Luxton, to investigate the architectural mysteries behind the most iconic structures of the past. Using evidence from the locations and a series of experiments, they come to understand the complexity behind the designs, and reveal the genius of the ancient engineers.

Episode titles: Egypt and Rome.


2 x 90 mins


Ancient Worlds, Science, Series


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