Level 3 Home Page Teachers Notes Themes Home Page Search Database Site Home Page
 The Towns
Previous Page Defence
Health & Hygiene in the City
Excavations of the Chichester Bathhouse Well (Cistern)Although the sanitation was far from today's standards, Roman Chichester did have a network of drains, wells and cesspits that would have ensured a reasonable level of health and hygiene, especially when compared with later medieval cities. Water was easily obtained by sinking shallow wells into the gravel soil, and these were often lined with wood in order to stop them being polluted by the contents of cesspits.

Sewers were built to cope with surface water drainage, and a number of municipal drains have so far been discovered. Examination of these drains suggests that they fell into disrepair during the troubles of the 3rd century, and were then re-dug and lined during the period of prosperity and re-building in the early 4th century.

Public latrines certainly existed at some Romano-British cities such as Verulamium, but there is no positive evidence from Chichester. The public baths would almost certainly have had some latrines, probably consisting of stone or wooden seats over a deep trench. Most private households had their own latrines built over cesspits, which one assumes were periodically cleaned out by slaves. Finally, there may have been containers placed at various points in the streets, which would serve to collect urine that could be used in tanneries and fullers workshops, for processing leather and cloth.