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“This kind of mortar is called hydraulic mortar. It's a type of waterproof lime mortar mixed with crushed and pulverized ceramics that the Romans used in hydraulic engineering,” says Frerich Schön of Tübingen University, the water technology specialist who first spotted the material, to Haaretz.
The discovery was made at the spina, the median strip of the circus, around the ends of which the charioteers would turn during races. The spina would often feature ornate columns and statues. As was the custom in ancient racetracks, water basins had been placed along the spina of Carthage, the archaeologists realized. Sparsores – sprinklers –would dip clay amphorae into the basins, from which they would sprinkle water on the chariots, says Dr Ralf Bockmann, who is directing the excavation Together with his Tunisian colleague, Dr Hamden Ben Romdhane.