Ancient hydraulic works

Olynthus lavatory

Use: Sanitary Facilities
Construction era: Classical
Types: Lavatory
Operation era: Classical
Location: Greece - Olynthus
  • Antoniou, G. P., Lavatories in Ancient Greece, Water Supply, 7(1), 155-164, 2007.

Containers of clay for defecation -koprodochoi- are known (amjdes or skoramides from Athens) as well as anatomically shaped earthen seats (from Olynthus), looking like the current toilet seats. At these seats the absence of bottom combined with the form off the lower edge, justifies their use either over cesspits or along with some other mechanism for collection and drainage of excrements. Probably they are similar to a pre-existing type of lavatories. The existence of such utensils in Olynthus that was destroyed by Philipp II in 348 B.C. could easily date them in the 5th century B.C. An on floor earthen utensil with a sewerage pipe made also of clay was found in Olynthus. Its shape, according the excavator, suggests that it was used along with something else that was not preserved, a wooden seat or a small relevant board. Finally recent discoveries in Epidaurus, specifically at the foundations of Avaton, most probably represent one of the first equivalent stone samples of toilet seat, indeed a premature one. Research about the time of appearance of lavatories with this mature layout, suggests that this has probably happened in early 4th ca. B.C. Basic issues for this hypothesis are, first the absence of lavatories in 5th ca. B.C finds - however they are reported in the ancient scripts- and second the appearance of them approximately at the end of that century, according the existing documentation, in Thera, Amorgos and Delos.

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