Wednesday, 25 November 2009

UQ archaeology digs into the life behind Pompeii

And now to the other end of the spectrum (!). A nice piece on current research by University of Queensland archaeologists, who have been collecting and analysing samples from toilets. Their samples come from the PARP:PS project. They're not the first to do this, though. Mark Robinson was collecting samples from the BSR/Reading project (I.9) and the DAIR project (House of the Postumii) a few years back, and the Anglo-American project have done the same in VI.1. Does anyone know of any other examples of this type of research (and any publications)? It's interesting that it seems to demonstrate that specialised food preparation was no longer taking place in normal houses in AD 79. The question is, how do we identify where it WAS taking place? Any ideas?

4 comments:

Sarah Court said...

There was a whole Roman latrine conference held a couple of years ago, organised by the University of Nijmegen - in theory they were going to be publishing the Atti.
Herculaneum was represented by our lead archaeologist Domenico Camardo, and we're hoping to publish a further article on our latrines in very near future.
Herculaneum also has research ongoing for the enormous sewer under Cardo V - the largest amount of human waste from the Roman period ever excavated (part of the Herculaneum Conservation Project). Mark Robinson is involved in the organic material analysis. Although unpublished, its high on the agenda to get the results shared as soon as possible. Some preliminary analysis was included in an MA thesis if anyone wants to see it.

Virginia Campbell said...

Barry Hobson (who I know used to work with the AAPP) recently published a book on Roman latrines. Not sure if it has been reviewed yet anywhere, but here's a link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Latrinae-Foricae-Toilets-Roman-World/dp/0715638505

Steven Ellis said...

FYI: Mark Robinson is also working with Andrew Fairbairn and Emily Holt on the environmental and bioarchaeological material recovered from the excavations of PARP:PS.

Heini Ynnilä said...

Also the Expeditio Pompeiana Universitatis Helsingiensis-team has studied some latrines in insula IX.3, analysing a part of two cess pool contents of latrines in use AD 79 in the house of Marcus Lucretius (IX.3.5/24). In addition to a large number of ceramics, the bone contents (studied by Michael McKinnon)was high, especially of neonatal pig bones (carcasses). Some of these results ca be found in their Domus Pompeiana - exhibition catalogue.

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