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Roman Toilets with Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

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This is a very nice video from Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow on ancient Roman sanitation. Professor Koloski-Ostrow, the self-described "Queen of Latrines," shares her years in archaeological research in the subject on the video.

I wrote a review of Professor Koloski-Ostrow's  excellent book "The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy" a few years back: 


Here's a wonderful new review the professor's excellent work:




Here's a nice article describing the dangers of these public toilets:


Piers Mitchell, a paleopathologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, combed through previous studies from more than 50 archaeological sites around the Mediterranean to get a sense of what parasites were living in and on humans before and after the Romans took over. Many of these studies relied on microscopes and chemical or DNA tests to detect parasites and their eggs in soil from grave sites and public latrines. Mitchell focused his analysis on these sites because they contained fossilized feces, known as coprolites, which may retain parasite eggs and DNA for thousands of years. Using this evidence, he outlined the geographic range of multiple parasites.

Despite the Romans’ sanitation technology, Mitchell found that intestinal parasites like whipworm (Trichuris trichiura), roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), and Entamoeba histolytica (the causative agent of dysentery) increased in areas after the Romans showed up





guy also known as guy

Edited by guy

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Well that was an enjoyable and informative talk with Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow.  Thank you for posting.  I would like to hear more from that site. but I didn't catch the name of the young woman presenting the series of talks.  The next was to be on leprosy.


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That's a fascinating thing about Rome. They thought the Cloaca Maxima was the height of civilisation, and as Simon Montefiore explained on a recent documentary, symbolic of purifying what was always regarded as a sacred city by the removal of the unwanted waste. The Roman social toilet must have been the place for some bawdy humour and shared gossip, you know, that macho 'locker room' sort of banter. 

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