1st Edition

Water in Ancient Mediterranean Households

Edited By Rick Bonnie, Patrik Klingborg Copyright 2024
    216 Pages 85 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides the first detailed study of the water supply of households in antiquity. Chapters explore settings from Classical Greece to the Late Roman Empire across a wide variety of environments, from dry deserts and moderate Mediterranean zones to wet and temperate climates further north.

    The different case studies presented in each chapter are united by three intimately interconnected aspects. The first, rainwater harvesting in cisterns, provides detailed techno-hydraulic investigations of the household water supply systems. The second aspect, households and water at the margins, stresses how domestic water supply systems were successfully adapted to unusually harsh environmental conditions. The third, other waters for houses, focuses on other types of water supply systems (rivers, water-bearers, stepped pools, wells) and their life biographies. As shown by the different chapters, a careful study of a household’s water supply is a rich source of evidence for understanding everyday decisions, anxieties, and changes in life. They also build towards a greater understanding of the social inequalities that are at play in the ancient Mediterranean and beyond, providing a wealth of new research to greatly augment our understanding of water as a resource in the ancient Mediterranean.

    Providing a new and important perspective on a central part of everyday life in the ancient world, this book is aimed at archaeologists and historians of the ancient Mediterranean, notably the Greek and Roman worlds, especially those with an interest in ancient households and water culture.

    1.     Water in Ancient Mediterranean Households

    Rick Bonnie & Patrik Klingborg

    2.     Household Water, Environment and Economy in Ancient Piraeus

    Jane Millar Tully

    3.     Social Stratification and Water Sharing on Late-Hellenistic Delos

    Patrik Klingborg

    4.     Surveying Notion’s Residential Water Supply: Cistern Use During Hellenistic-Roman Times
           Angela Commito

    5.     Breaking out from Imagined Household Uniformity: Diverse Rainwater Harvesting Solutions in Republican-Imperial Cosa

    Ann Glennie

    6.     Rainwater Collection Strategies in Pompeian Houses

    Gemma Jansen 

    7.     Posthumanism, Social Justice and Pollution in the Waters of Roman Volubilis

    Mark Locicero

    8.     Reusing Stepped Pools in Roman Palestinian Households

    Rick Bonnie

    9.     The Significance of Household Cisterns at Roman Dura-Europos

    J. A. Baird

    10.  Water as Social Inequality in Late Roman Britain

    James Gerrard


    Rick Bonnie is a University Lecturer in Museology at the University of Helsinki, Finland, where he researches and teaches on museum and heritage ethics, object biographies, decolonisation and provenance issues, museum collection histories, and sensory archaeology. He is the author of Being Jewish in Galilee, 100-200 CE: An Archaeological Study (2019). Among other work, Rick recently led a project that studied the impact of past climatic changes on the rise and fall of Jewish ritual purification baths in Hasmonean-Roman Judaea through hydrological modelling and contextual archaeological analysis.

    Patrik Klingborg is an Associate Senior Lecturer at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden, primarily studying water usage in the ancient Greek world. Within the framework of this, he has focused on non-monumental water sources such as cisterns and wells, as well as how water was used within ancient Greek religion. He is also part of the board of the Frontinus-Gesellschaft and participates in fieldwork by the Swedish Institute at Athens.