Every profession in Idaho has a unique history. Civil engineering is no exception. Let’s take a peek into the pages of this profession’s history to discover where it all started and how we arrived at modern civil engineering.
Back to the cave men
While civil engineering in Idaho may involve complex technology and innovations today, the basic concepts of this field can be seen in the earliest civilizations. The use of caves as shelter and tree trunks as bridges are actual examples of ancient civil engineering.
Basically, the need for shelter forced the development of the field of civil engineering. Its earliest practices are most likely those of the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians, who developed the concepts of sailing and the wheel due to the need for transportation.
Firsts in civil engineering
The Great Pyramids in Egypt are the first examples of large structure engineering, which were built between 2700 and 2500 BC. The famous stepped pyramid at Saqqara Necropolis, built for King Djoser around 2550 BC, is an example. The creator of this famous structure is noted as the first documented engineer. His use of shaped stones for building was a first, and allowed those after him to take civil engineering in Idaho and around the world to new heights.
Other ancient examples of civil engineering include the Parthenon in Ancient Greece, constructed between 447 and 438 BC, and the Qanat water management system. The Romans are particularly known for developing civil engineering structures throughout their empire, including bridges, roads, aqueducts and harbors. Of course, we can’t fail to mention the Great Wall of China, which was constructed by General Meng T’ien around 220 BC. This is inarguably one of the best-known structures in civil engineering history.
The evolution of the profession
Before modern educational opportunities, ancient architectural designs and engineering were completed by artisans. Workers such as carpenters and stonemasons improved their craft to achieve the status of master builder. Knowledge was passed on to other artisans in guilds.
Until the 18th century, civil engineers and architects were lumped into the same category. The two fields were considered interchangeable, with no clear distinction between the two pursuits.
In 1747, the first National School of Bridges and Highways opened in France, making this the first school of engineering. The first engineering society, the Institution of Civil Engineers, was founded in 1818 in London. Ten years later, the institution achieved formal recognition of civil engineering as a profession.
In 1819, Captain Alden Partridge founded Norwich University, the first private college for civil engineering in the United States. Today, there are over 300,000 civil engineers across the nation, and the job market for this field continues to grow.
Make history with us
Civil engineering in Idaho continues to advance. New innovations and creative technology are allowing civil engineers to develop incredible structures and solutions. To be a part of this exciting history in Idaho, contact the team at Mason & Associates. We will work with you to define the scope of services and set an agreed-upon budget to make your next project a success. Reach us today at 208-454-0256.