Trans-disciplinary research methods and data from archaeology, geology, hydrology, and hydraulic engineering are successfully merged to reevaluate hydrodynamic effects of Roman hydraulic structures at a Rhine river harbour. The archaeological site Colonia Ulpia Traiana, is characterized by its exceptional preservation, providing ample research data on its river harbour. Constructed by the Romans, the berthing area is lined by a wooden quay-wall. Setting this harbour apart is its up-stream tip, which is fitted with a unique hydraulic structure with unknown purpose. Structure related hydrodynamic impacts on the historic Rhine regime are examined by introducing a novel cross-scale multi model approach, consisting of three steps: (i) Scaled physical experiments are performed to investigate the roughness influence of the wooden quay on a local scale. (ii) A numerical representation of the physical experiments is done in Delft3D, validating a linear loss term to accurately capture the roughness influence on the velocity distribution. (iii) A mid-scale Rhine river model of the area is generated that approximates the historic river bathymetry through morphological evolution. The quay-wall is implemented in parametric form and induces a substantial velocity reduction throughout the harbour. The unique structure exhibits hydromechanic properties mimicking present day current-deflection walls, potentially rendering it their primal prototype.
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