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Vitruvius (c. 80 BC - c.15 BC)


De Architectura 2, IX
10 The alder, which grows on the banks of rivers, and is to appearance an almost useless wood, possesses nevertheless most excellent qualities, inasmuch as it contains much air and fire, not a great deal of earth, and less water. Its freeness from water makes it almost eternal in marshy foundations used for piling under buildings, because, in these situations, it receives that moisture which it does not possess naturally. It bears immense weights and does not decay. Thus we see that timber which above ground soon decays, lasts an amazing time in a damp soil.
11 This is most evident at Ravenna, a city, the foundations of whose buildings, both public and private, are all built upon piles.

16 […] Thus, as the fortress was called Larignum, so the wood, whereof the tower was built, is called larigna (larch). It is brought down the Po to Ravenna, for the use of the municipalities of Fano, Pesaro, Ancona, and the other cities in that district.