Urban sanitation in Roman Mirobriga (Santiago do Cacèm, Portugal)

Durée : 00:26:35 -Réalisation : 15 octobre 2020 -Mise en ligne : 15 octobre 2020
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One of the greatestchallenges any urban settlement, whatever its size, faces is that of keepingcertain health standards. In Roman times, this concern is attested in citiesfounded all over the empire in the form of complex sewage systems designed withthe cities themselves.

            However,if the systems within major cities founded and created ex nihil or largely rebuilt upon their annexation to the romanterritory are relatively well known, such is not the case of those found inmedium and small sized urban centres, many of them ancient indigenous Iron Agesettlements that offered several sorts of orographic and urbanisticconstraints.

            Thispresentation is the outcome of the investigation conducted in the site known asMirobriga, in modern day Portugal.This Iron Age settlement, whose occupation dates back to, at least, the 9thor 8th century BC, was later fully converted into Roman City, in thecourse of the 1st century AD.

Although in Mirobriga the construction of the roman forum destroyed most of the originalsettlement, occupying almost the entire hill and forcing the settlement itselfto move to the surrounding grounds, the overall terrain did not favour thecreation of an orthogonal urban grid. This resulted in an organic design ofpaths, some probably adapting previously existent routes; insulae that embraced and adapted to the various hills comprised inthe urban perimeter; and several topographic constraints that lead to theplacement of some buildings in less-than-ideal locations.

The existence of somesort of sanitation mechanism in this ancient city had already been hintedpreviously due to the existence of two bath buildings, both with their ownlatrine. However, the further analysis of the several extant buildings revealedthat despite the inexistence of an underground sewage system, most of thebuildings had draining devices that flowed onto the various streets, denoting aclose coexistence of people and wastewater at a street level that undoubtedlyinfluenced the overall urban landscape.

Through theidentification of the different sorts of wastewater that flowed from eachbuilding, we were able not only to assess some degree of specialization, giventhe recurring association of certain building techniques/materials used toconstruct the pipelines/channels to specific types of waste; but also toobserve how the sloping terrain shaped the way wastewater flowed through thecity and even the way some buildings were designed, revealing  the existence of some level of concern aboutthe way a heavy pour of both waste and rain water would take a toll on thestructural stability and overall salubrity within the buildings themselves.

Communicants :


Catarina FELÍCIO, Doctorante, Nova FCSH

Filipe SOUSA, Doctorant, Nova FCSH



Colloque organisé par :

Jean-Baptiste Lebret

Sandrine Agusta-Boularot


Réalisation :

Lambert Capron

Langues :
Anglais, Italien
Conditions d'utilisation
Droit commun de la propriété intellectuelle
Citer cette ressource :
Archeo Montpellier. (2020, 15 octobre). Urban sanitation in Roman Mirobriga (Santiago do Cacèm, Portugal). [Vidéo]. Canal-U. (Consultée le 23 septembre 2023)

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