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The Bronze Roof Truss of the Vestibule of the Pantheon in Rome

The Pantheon in Rome is in many ways one of the most exceptional monuments of antiquity. While its famous dome has already been studied intensively, the fact that the vestibule is also an exceptional example of roman engineering, is less known: its roof truss that is made entirely made from bronze. The actual bronze truss has remained intact until the year 1625/26 although the gilded covering plates have been brought to Constantinople by Constans II. During this time, it has been removed by pope Urban VIII who used the 180 tons of bronze to cast new canons. Only a single bronze rivet in the Collection of Antiquities in Berlin remains today. Before its destruction, the truss has been documented by several architects in the Renaissance, among these Francesco Borromini, who accompanied the demolition and left detailed building recordings true to scale. A multi-disciplinary project is now concerned with the reconstruction and investigation of the original bronze roof truss. Aside from the systematic evaluation of the archived documents, documentation and investigation on the structural remains as well as several analyses on the remaining bronze rivet are conducted. The aim of the project is to understand the building and construction history as well as the material and truss properties in context to other ancient trusses more thoroughly.



Short information:


  • D. Heinzelmann, M. Heinzelmann, The Bronze Truss of the Portico of the Pantheon in Rome, Anejos de Archivo Español de Arqueología, in: J. DeLaine (Hrsg.), Proceeding of the 5th International Workshop on the Archaeology of Roman Construction Oxford 2015,
    Anejos de AEspA LXXVIII, 2016, 59-73

Qualifikation papers:

  • M. Gunkel, Der Bronze-Dachstuhl der Pantheon-Vorhalle in Rom - Rekonstruktion, statische Bewertung und Analyse (Master 2015)