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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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Finding Social Meaning about Sanitation in Written and Painted Sources

Finding Social Meaning about Sanitation in Written and Painted Sources

(p.102) 5 Finding Social Meaning about Sanitation in Written and Painted Sources
The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses how latrines and sewers, like other Roman building types and technologies that became staple features of Roman cities, depicted part of the architecture of Romanization and helped to establish a Roman presence throughout Italy. At the same time, the political motives behind the construction of these structures were much more subtle and not always philanthropic. Sewers and latrines were used in various texts to declare political ideas and to promote civic and cultural convictions, but little was done to reveal the archaeological truths about these features in the context of Roman cities. The chapter calls for a critical examination of latrines and sewers that are no longer sanitized by self-conscious embarrassment—something that has often clouded historical and archaeological observations.

Keywords:   Roman building types, Roman technologies, Romanization, sewers, latrines, Roman cities

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