Welcome

The Royal Archaeological Institute (RAI) is a leading national archaeology society, with a history dating back to 1844. Its interests span all aspects of the archaeological, architectural and landscape history of the British Isles.

Through our annual publication of the Archaeological Journal and our programme of monthly lectures, we have a strong tradition of presenting archaeological research. We also give grants to enable research projects, host conferences and run specialist tours for our members to archaeological sites, historic buildings and landscapes.

Find out more about what Royal Archaeological Institute membership offers and what options are available.
View our comprehensive lecture program, covering a variety of topics between October and May every year.
The Royal Archaeological Institute has research funds available each year - discover more about funds and eligibility criteria.
Learn more about our publications, including the Archaeological Journal, our newsletter and the summer meeting reports.

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Forthcoming events

13 FEBRUARY lecture by Dr Richard Stein
Wednesday 13th February 2019

'The Roman Water Pump'
In the Roman world pumps were used for many purposes, including raising water and, very importantly, fighting fires. Roman mechanical engineers cleverly refashioned the Greek bronze design to make a cheaper and better pump in wood. Ten pumps of bronze, and eighteen of wood, are known. There are remains of twenty three; one probably shows the progression from the earlier design to the later one.

This presentation will describe the location and dating of the known pumps, and discuss their uneven distribution through the empire. It will explain how pumps worked and were driven, and the rationale for, and process of, change. It will describe their output, how they were used, and what they were used for.

Rome used many types of machine, but few remains exist. The pump gives us an indication of the major contribution that machines made to the Roman world.

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