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Durable surfacing of a road, path, court, patio, plaza, airstrip, or other such area. The Romans, the greatest road builders of the ancient world, built their roads of stone and concrete. By AD 75 several methods of road construction were known in India, including brick and stone slab pavements, and street paving was common in towns. Smaller cobblestones began to be used for European paving in the late Middle Ages. The 18th–19th century saw the development of pavement systems (e.g., macadam) that used light road surfaces of broken or crushed stone. Modern flexible pavements contain sand and gravel or crushed stone compacted with a bituminous binder (e.g., asphalt or tar); such a pavement has enough plasticity to absorb shock. Rigid pavements are made of concrete, composed of coarse and fine aggregate and portland cement, and usually reinforced with steel rod or mesh.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pavement, visit Britannica.com.