While strolling through Rome's city centre, I happened to pass the
Colosseum while a crew of workers was attempting to lift a small piece
of marble column. When I say small, I mean about as tall as I am, and a
few times rounder. One cubic foot of marble weighs about 160 lbs. I
don't know how many lbs. this slab of rock could possibly weigh, but it
took the largest crane I have ever seen to move it.
While watching these men slowly but surely strap it in and move it ever
so carefully, it got me thinking. If this is what it takes to move about
1/10 of a marble column in 2012, imagine what it involved 2000 years
ago! All of the material I have ready suggests that marble was most often
moved by barge, with the help of complicated hoisting gear and surely
an army of men and animals to assist. What I wouldn't give to witness a tour of the Colosseum when it was being built!