Thursday, June 2, 2016

The History of Ancient Toilets

Credit:Photo by Becky Bowen

Garderobe –Medieval Toilets

Garderobe - French wardrobe is described as a place where the clothes as well as other items seem to be stored. It is also considered a medieval toilet. A garderobe, in European public places means a cloakroom wardrobe, armoire or alcove that is utilised temporarily to store the coats and the other properties of visitors The word garderobe in Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, German, Russian and Spanish means a `cloakroom while in Latvian it means `checkroom’.

At Donegal Castle, anexplanation shows that during the time the castle garderobe had been in use, it was said that ammonia would protect the visitors’ coats and clock especially from fleas. In a medieval castle or other building, the garderobe was said to be just a hole, discharging to the outside into a cesspit of the trench based on the building structure.

 These toilets often were located within a small chamber lead by association to use of the word garderobe to define the rooms. Several of them can still be viewed in Norman and the medieval castles and fortifications, for instance at Burresheim Castle in Germany where there are three garderobes that are visible till date. With the introduction of indoor plumbing they have become out-dated.


Ancient Communal Toilet on Palatine Hill

Archaeologist have found clues to what life was earlier in the Roman world and in other civilization by searching the remains of early loos and sewers.A high ceilinged room beneath one of Rome’s most magnificent palaces, some 2,000 years back, was a smelly, busy space. Within the damp chamber, a bench perforated by about 50 holes that were the size of dinner plates ran along the walls which could have held some of the bottoms of the lowest members of Roman society.

Presently the room is closed to the public though the archaeologists Ann Koloshi-Ostrow and Gemma Jansen had a rare opportunity in 2014, of studying the ancient communal toilet on the Palatine Hill. They measured the heights of the stone based benches, which was comfortable 43 centimetres, the distances between the holes – an intimate 56 cm and the drop down in the sewer below, of a substantial 380 cm at its deepest. They wondered regarding the mysterious source of the water which could have flushed the sewer or perhaps some nearby baths.

Urinal ; Image

Drawings on Outer Entryway

Drawings on the outer entryway indicated long queues wherein people had some time to carve or write their messages before they could take their turn on the bench. The underground area with the combination of plain red and white colour scheme on the walls showed a lower class of users probably slaves.

When Giacomo Boni, the Italian excavator had excavated this room in 1913, the toilets were aprohibited topic and in his report he had misguided the remains of the leaky benches for something extraordinary, some portion of an elaborate mechanism which he had guessed would have pumped water providing power for the palace above. Jansen had commented that Boni’s narrow-minded feelings did not permit him to recognize what was before him and he could not imagine it to be a toilet.

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