The greatest of the ‘three marvels’ mentioned by Herodotus at Samos (Hist. III. 60), and one of the most remark able engineering feats of Antiquity, is the –Aqueduct Tunnel of Eupalinos (open daily except Monday 8.25 am 2.45 pm), worthy of visit not just because it is a 1,036m long, double-tunnel, cut by hand through the mountain—it self a remarkable feat, but nonetheless achievable in the 6th century bc by means of the power of captive, or slave, labour—but because of what it tells us about the rapid evolution of Greek thinking at that time. The fact that the tunnel was begun simultaneously from two points (invisible to one another) on opposite sides of a mountain and met in the centre at a depth of 170m below the surface, with almost negligible margin of error, is an incarnation of the Greeks’ extraordinary and evolving ability to solve problems by the application of logic and theoretical imagination to practical situations. Before entering the tunnel, it is worth first recalling the problems and solutions involved in its creation.

Samos Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island Group, Greece.

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