Eupalinos' tunnel

Dug in the sixth century BC through Mount Kastro on Samos to bring water from north of the mountain inside the fortifications of the city of Samos (modern Pythagoreon) to the south. The tunnel is over 1 km long, roughly 8 feet square, and was dug from both ends to meet up near the middle under the mountain. The tunnel is named after the architect/ engineer in charge in charge of the project, Eupalinos of Megara, and is mentioned by Herodotos as one of the 3 reasons for his long 'digression' on the history of the Samians.

Here are four of my photos of the tunnel. Please note that I have copyright over these. If you want to reproduce them there are high quality TIF file versions; contact me.

The first shows the junction from the north tunnel; note how the north tunnel was going high and has been cut down once contact with the south tunnel was made. Note also that the north tunnel is swinging round to the left here. The deep cut on the left carries the water channel; at the far corner of the junction the pipes turn nearly 90 degrees to the right.
The second shows the junction from the south tunnel; you can see the chisel marks ahead where cutting was abandoned when the north tunnel broke through the ceiling to the left. 
The third shows the mountain under which this tunnel runs, complete with fortification walls and tower (at 10 o'clock). The spring, whence the water that this tunnel was designed to bring to the city of Samos, is on the other side of this mountain.
This is the south tunnel at its best. Although it is slightly sinuous, you can clearly see it is holding the line straight ahead, toward the north tunnel. If you look directly back from here you can see the shaft, which provided the guide from behind. It doesn't work well (nor photograph well) with the tunnel lights on. Obviously they didn't have this sort of lighting level when they built it!

 

References:  T E Rihll and J V Tucker 'Greek engineering: the case of Eupalinos' tunnel' in A Powell (ed) The Greek World Routledge 1995.


T E Rihll  

Last modified: 18 March 2008