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The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman ItalyToilets, Sewers, and Water Systems$
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Ann Koloski-Ostrow

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469621289

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621289.001.0001

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“Black Holes” in Ancient Space Exploring Hygiene and Sanitation Through Cros-Cultural Anthropology and Archaeological Theory

“Black Holes” in Ancient Space Exploring Hygiene and Sanitation Through Cros-Cultural Anthropology and Archaeological Theory

Chapter:
(p.38) 2 “Black Holes” in Ancient Space Exploring Hygiene and Sanitation Through Cros-Cultural Anthropology and Archaeological Theory
Source:
The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy
Author(s):

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621289.003.0002

This chapter looks at two influential theoretical frameworks. The first, “formation processes,” states that every archaeological feature, including a Roman toilet, is associated with human behaviors and activities that determine its construction, use, and abandonment. The second, called “social theory of architectural design,” aims to unravel the human decisions and actions leading to the creation of an archaeological feature. Such anthropological theories, which helped create sounder interpretations of nineteenth-century privies, must be applied to Roman toilets and sewers. While the builders of early Roman public latrines, sewers, and water-supply systems in Italy had little or no understanding of any “ideal” for public sanitation, investigation of sanitary installations and water systems has much to tell about the experience of Roman daily life.

Keywords:   formation processes, social theory of architectural design, nineteenth-century privies, Roman public latrines, public sanitation, sanitary installations

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