The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy

Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems

By Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

312 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 36 drawings, 64 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2128-9
    Published: April 2015
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4553-7
    Published: August 2018
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2129-6
    Published: April 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7303-3
    Published: April 2015

Studies in the History of Greece and Rome

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The Romans developed sophisticated methods for managing hygiene, including aqueducts for moving water from one place to another, sewers for removing used water from baths and runoff from walkways and roads, and public and private latrines. Through the archeological record, graffiti, sanitation-related paintings, and literature, Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow explores this little-known world of bathrooms and sewers, offering unique insights into Roman sanitation, engineering, urban planning and development, hygiene, and public health. Focusing on the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ostia, and Rome, Koloski-Ostrow’s work challenges common perceptions of Romans' social customs, beliefs about health, tolerance for filth in their cities, and attitudes toward privacy. In charting the complex history of sanitary customs from the late republic to the early empire, Koloski-Ostrow reveals the origins of waste removal technologies and their implications for urban health, past and present.

About the Author

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow is professor and chair of Classical Studies at Brandeis University, the Kevy and Hortense Kaiserman Endowed Chair in the Humanities, and affiliate faculty in Anthropology, Fine Arts, Italian Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She won the 2016 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the Archaeological Institute of America. She is an Associate Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome for 2018-19.
For more information about Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow, visit the Author Page.