The Coliseum: Building the Arena of Death

2310 Words Mar 22nd, 2011 10 Pages
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The Coliseum: Building the Arena of Death

Engineering Project Management

INTRODUCTION:

Project management has existed in some form for thousands of years. After all anything that requires an approach where humans organize effectively to plan and achieve specific objectives can be loosely defined as a project. How else would humans have achieved some of the worlds most stunning wonders and achievements. Examples include, the Great Pyramid of Giza (2,550 B.C.) and the Great Wall of China (221 B.C. - 206 B.C.). These projects were made possible with the development of simple tools like wheels and levers, and wedges, around 3000 BC. The pace of development continued in and around the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Asia
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The Greek name amphitheater indicates that it was thought of as two theaters back to back. The shape of the Coliseum is an ellipse, measuring 188x156m (617x512ft), with the base of the building covering about 6 acres. The Romans used Pythagoras’ theorem to ensure a good view for as many people as possible.
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DISCUSSION: As we can see from the background information given, the principles of project management were clearly in use during the building of The Coliseum. Architects were certainly concerned with planning, quality of work, and cost. Small differences in some details of the construction have convinced archaeologists that the building of each quadrant of The Coliseum was entrusted to four different contractors, who worked side by side sharing the four main entrances. This would have required integration management and excellent systems engineering to ensure that each section was built to standards and was able to be integrated into the whole. Additionally, contractors had to coordinate with the stone quarries to ensure the mining and delivery of the stone necessary was on track. Most of these blocks were mined at Tivoli located approximately 20 miles from the site of the Coliseum. Romans built a stone road specifically for transporting the stones at a rate of 200 ox carts daily, for a total of more than 240,000 cart loads of travertine (limestone). Without close integration between these two factions of construction, the