BMCR 2021.03.36

Wasserwesen zur Zeit des Frontinus: Bauwerke, Technik, Kultur: Tagungsband des internationalen Frontinus-Symposiums Trier, 25.-29. Mai 2016

, , Wasserwesen zur Zeit des Frontinus: Bauwerke, Technik, Kultur: Tagungsband des internationalen Frontinus-Symposiums Trier, 25.-29. Mai 2016. Babesch. Supplement, 32. Leuven; Paris; Bristol, CT: Peeters, 2017. Pp. xxix, 436. ISBN 9789042935617 €120,00.

Table of Contents
[The Table of Contents is listed below.]

This book is the proceedings of a conference held at Trier in May 2016 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Frontinus Gesellschaft, a German society focused on ancient water management. This event attracted contributions from many influential researchers in the field, and the editors, Gilbert Wiplinger and Wolfram Letzner, are to be congratulated on publishing the proceedings so soon after the conference. I wish that I had been as timely in the presentation of this review, and apologise for not doing so.

The book is a comprehensive snapshot of the state of the field and is richly illustrated in color throughout. With 436 A4 pages and 41 contributions divided into 7 thematic sections, there is something here for anyone interested in Roman water, bathing, urbanism, environment or law. There is also more than I can review comprehensively, so I have chosen a few examples to discuss.

After a series of introductions and a recap of the history of the Frontinus Gesellschaft, Klaus Grewe provides us with some of the highlights of his productive 30-year career researching Roman surveying and water technology, including discoveries that stilling basins were used to manage steps in the channel floor at the interfaces between different work crews, a compelling explanation of bricks inserted into the stone pillars of aqueduct bridges at Minturnae as levelling markers and the interesting idea that the black layers between aqueduct walls and the carbonate deposits that formed over them could be the remains of wood ash, mentioned by Vitruvius (8.6.9) as a means of water proofing. We should note, however, that Vitruvius is talking about a slightly different application: that the ash might fill the joints between clay pipes in a siphon. To Grewe’s three examples, I could add similar black layers at the intake of the aqueduct (the springs at Urciuoli) that supplied Beneventum (Keenan-Jones et al., Forthcoming), and in the Tivoli Bypass of Rome’s Anio Novus aqueduct near the Via Empolitana, where they are between carbonate layers, not against the channel wall, suggesting wood ash is not the only cause. I look forward to the publication of the full results of analyses into samples of these layers, rather than the merely textual description presented here. This might help in distinguishing between wood ash and other possible explanations for these layers, such as concentration of manganese compounds by microbial communities.

Next comes Gemma Jansen’s commendation of Gilbert Wiplinger, the 2016 recipient of the Frontinus Medal, and Gilbert’s own piece on the Değirmendere aqueduct at Ephesus.

A thematic section on water at the important late antique capital Trier is next, followed by a section of the use of legal texts and new techniques in the study of Roman water management and use. Here Pagano and co-authors describe their considerable work retracing the routes of Rome’s aqueducts upstream of the city. The use of GPS has allowed them to pinpoint routes more precisely than was possible for Ashby, even though the area is more densely settled and, in places, more overgrown than the goat-clipped landscapes captured in Ashby’s photographs. They present new discoveries of aqueduct sections and even one of cippi (or route-markers) of the Aqua Marcia. While location is now pinpointed with great accuracy, the Centro Ricerche Speleo-Archeologiche team was (in 2017) still working out the best way to collect the elevation data that will enable new modeling (using methods similar to those in Motta et al., 2017) of the functioning of these imposing pieces of infrastructure.

Next comes a section on aqueducts and qanats. Koehler and Chacon present a concise but thorough overview of previous scholarship on the Aqua “Alexandrina” coupled with new research focused on the up- and down-stream ends of the known remains, resulting in a new draft chronology of the aqueduct. This is very timely, since this aqueduct is currently undergoing a thorough review as the 17th century conclusions of Fabretti are finally being critically assessed (Coates-Stephens, 1998), especially through the use of strontium isotope analysis of travertine/sinter deposits within the aqueduct (Hostetter et al., 2011; Lombardi et al., 2005). Myself and the authors are part of a consortium carrying this research forward, and our first paper, investigating the mortars of this aqueduct, is forthcoming (Seymour et al., Forthcoming).

The penultimate section deals with baths, fountains and other urban water uses. Monika Trümper’s article is one of the most important in the collection. She presents a concise but comprehensive overview of the findings of previous research on one of the key sites for our understanding of the development of Greco-Roman bathing: the Stabian Baths at Pompeii. She then proceeds to revise this view significantly in a preliminary publication of new excavations and architectural survey conducted by part of the Topoi Excellence Cluster. She and her team found no evidence for Eschebach’s phases between the 5th and 3rd centuries BCE—dating the construction of the baths instead to the 2nd century CE—or for the use of hiptubs, calling into serious question the view that saw the Stabian baths as a “missing link” between Greek bathing in individual tubs and more communal Roman bathing. They also find (from the architectural survey, not the excavations) that the expansion of the complex linked to its connection to the piped water system did not occur before the Augustan period, casting more doubt on a pre-Augustan phase of the aqueduct and piped distribution system (pace Keenan-Jones, 2016, 2015; contra Ohlig, 2001, Kessener in this publication). It is also interesting that the well could have continued in use after the connection to the piped system, since I wonder if the warmth (now around 25 deg. C., Federico et al., 2002, pp. 967–8, Fig. 3c) and high mineral content (Federico et al., 2004; Maiuri, 1931) of the groundwater at Pompeii could have evoked thermal bathing and been popular with patrons. The water demand of the baths was greatly increased in the last (fourth) phase (post 41 CE), the well was rendered unusable, and (contra Eschebach) there appears not to have been a makeshift reservoir added, showing that the baths must have been supplied by a functioning pipe system and aqueduct. It is not clear if this occurred before or after the earthquakes and problems with the water system in the 60s and 70s, so there is no clarification of this enigmatic period of Pompeii’s water history.

The collection is closed by a miscellaneous section. Here Paul Kessener presents a refreshing correction to our current understanding of the water distribution systems at Pompeii (in particular) and elsewhere (which is somewhat obscured by the enigmatic title). I agree that the aqueduct at Pompeii, and most other Roman aqueducts, were intended to flow continually, even if water may have been stored in some aqueducts at time of low demand by shutting sluice gates (Chanson, 2002). I agree also that this was likely the design intent for the piped distribution system within the town: taps are located not at the end of pipes but at the beginning, where they connect to junction boxes. They are clearly intended to send water down one or more of the pipes, not to shut off flow entirely. Kessener then points out that this mode of operation would not lead to high pressures at the taps, and hence that the water towers in the Pompeian system were not intended to reduce water pressure, but to provide a desired pressure at the point of use. This explains why private individuals built their own water towers in Pompeii (Dessales, 2006): to ensure the required pressure (Keenan-Jones, 2015). The intention of continuous flow does not mean, however, that taps were not subjected to brief periods of high pressure when, for example, the only open tap from a junction box was closed (erroneously) before another tap was opened. We await with interest the result of Kessener’s pressure tests on replica taps to see if the indent he describes would have prevented the ejection of the inner cylinder in such circumstances. It would also be interesting to know the scale of leakage from such taps under normal operation and under the extreme operation described above.

The vast majority of contributions apart from those celebrating the Frontinus Society present original research, making this volume an important snapshot of research on Roman water.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations/Abkürzungsverzeichnis IX
Vorwort des Präsidenten der Frontinus-Gesellschaft, Hans Mehlhorn XIII
Vorwort der Direktorin des Österreichischen Archäologischen Institutes, Sabine Ladstätter XIV
Vorwort der Herausgeber, Gilbert Wiplinger und Wolfram Letzner XV
Grußworte zur Eröffnung des Symposiums, Marcus Reuter und Arndt Müller XVI
Maria Theresia Langer, Oluf Hoyer. Einleitung und Ablauf des Symposiums XIX Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Frontinus-Society 40-Jahr Feier der Frontinus-Gesellschaft
Hans Mehlhorn. Die Frontinus-Gesellschaft – 40 Jahre Erfolgsgeschichte 3
Klaus Grewe. Neues aus der Aquäduktforschung 15
Gemma Jansen. Laudatio for the Awarding of the Frontinus-Medal to Gilbert Wiplinger 33
Gilbert Wiplinger. Dankesrede nach der Verleihung der Frontinus-Medaille: 1 Neue Forschungsergebnisse zum Degirmendere Aquädukt von Ephesos 37

Frank Unruh. Die Geschichte Triers in ‘Highlights’ der römischen Ausstellung im Rheinischen Landesmuseum Trier 47
Georg Breitner. Trier und seine urbanistische Entwicklung Wahrnehmung und Perspektiven 63
Florian Tanz. Die Trierer Ruwerleitung – Ein Überblick 71
Michael Dodt. Die Wasserbewirtschaftung der Trierer Barbarathermen 79
Martino La Torre. Die Neudokumentation der Kaiserthermen in Trier Details zur Wasserbewirtschaftung der Anlage 91

Juridical Sources and New Techniques in Research Juristische Quellen und neue Techniken in der Forschung
Michael Reinhardt, Christian Saßl Sextus. Iulius Frontinus im Spiegel des modernen Wasserrechts Entwicklungen, Parallelen, Assoziationen 99
Christer Bruun. Die Herausforderungen juristischer Quellen bei der Erforschung römischer Wasserversorgungssysteme 109
Maurizio Pagano, Luca Messina, Manfred Donix, Riccardo Ribacchi, Marco Placidi, Donato Cioli. Redrawing Ashby’s Maps. A GPS- and Internet-based Project for the Documentation of the Ancient Aqueducts of Rome 117
Dennis Murphy, Paul Kessener, Michael Murphy. The Use of GPS and Photogrammetry in the Study of the Aqueduct of Antiochia ad Cragum in Southern Turkey 129

Aqueducts and Qanats/Aqädukte und Qanate
Ünal Öziş, Ahmet Alkan, Yalqn Özdemir. Bedeutende römische Fernwasserleitungen in der Türkei 139
Saskia Kerschbaum. Die Druckwasserleitung von Alatri – ein frühes Beispiel von privatem Euergetismus? 157
Jens Köhler, David Chacon. Aqua Alexandrina: New Research 167
Josfi Manuel De Mascarenhas, Francisco Bilou, Nuno Sousa Neves. The Roman Aqueduct of Lisbon: A Utopia or a Viable Enterprise? 179
Ralf Kreiner. Die römischen Wasserleitungen und Bäder von Lebena (Lentas) auf Kreta 193
Alessandro Cattaneo. Fons vitae, morbis inimica: Aqueducts and Water Management on Roman Coins 207
Wolfgang Vetters (mit einem Beitrag von Stefan Karwiese). Das Almstollensystem im Mönchsberg von Salzburg 219
Andre Schoellen. Die gallo-römischen Qanate im Raum Luxemburg und dem nahen Grenzgebiet 233
Guy Waringo, Sonja Faber, Henri Werner. A Major Roman Qanat in Walferdange 241

Baths, Fountains and other Inter-urban Water Use/Thermen, Brunnen und andere innerstädtische Wasserabnehmer
Monika Trümper. Water Management of the Stabian Baths at Pompeji: A Reassessment 257
Marina Piranomonte. The Water System Technology of the Baths of Caracalla
Sergio Carneiro. Health and Politics at the Edge of the Empire. The Roman Healing Spa of Aquae Flaviae (Chaves, Portugal)
Andrea Schmölder-Veit (mit einem Exkurz von Christer Bruun). Des Kaisers neue (?) Brunnen: Nymphäen auf dem Palatin unter Domitian 297
Georgia Aristodemou. Fountain Culture in the Greek Provinces before Hadrian. Introducing the Concept of Luxury 315
Havva Iskan Sevket Aktas. Das sogenannte Mettius-Modestus-Tor von Patara als Wassermonument 331
Julian Richard. Water for the Market. Hydraulic Infrastructure at the Roman Macellum of Sagalassos, SW Turkey 341

Regula Wahl-Clerici. Die Wasserspeicherung in den römischen Goldbergwerksbezirken im Nord westen der iberischen Halbinsel 351
Mark A. Locicero. Under Pressure: A New Water Tower in Roman Ostia 361
H. Paul M. Kessener. Roman Water Taps and (two) Paradigms 371
Eugenio Tamburrino, Italo Riera, Paola Zanovello. Looking at Water Shortage from a Roman Point of View: A Survey of the Literary Sources and Epigraphical Attestations from Italian regiones 381
Gilbert Wiplinger. Wasserversorgung im Libanon in römischer Zeit und heute 395
Udo Geilenbrügge. Altdorf und Pommenich – Reste der ältesten Wassermühle in Mitteleuropa? 407
Björn P. Zietz. Trinkwasserbedingte Bleivergiftungen mit klinische Symptomen – historische Fallhäufungen im deutschsprachigen Raum 417
List of Participants and Authors /Liste der Teilnehmer und Autoren 427


Chanson, H.P.Y., 2002. “Certains Aspects de la Conception hydrauliques des Aqueducs Romains”. La Houille Blanche 6, 43–57.
Coates-Stephens, R., 1998. “The walls and aqueducts of Rome in the Early Middle Ages, AD 500-1000”. Journal of Roman Studies 88, 239–259.
Dessales, H., 2006. “Castella privata: Water Towers and Tanks in Roman Dwellings”, in Wiplinger, G. (Ed.), Cura Aquarum in Ephesus. Proceedings of the Twelfth International Congress on the History of Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering in the Mediterranean Region, Ephesus/Selçuk, Turkey, October 2-10, 2004, Babesch Supplementa, 12. Peeters, Leuven, pp. 363–370.
Federico, C., Aiuppa, A., Allard, P., Bellomo, S., Jean-Baptiste, P., Parello, F., Valenza, M., 2002. “Magma-derived gas influx and water-rock interactions in the volcanic aquifer of Mt. Vesuvius, Italy”. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 66, 963–981.
Federico, C., Aiuppa, A., Favara, R., Gurrieri, S., Valenza, M., 2004. “Geochemical monitoring of groundwaters (1998-2001) at Vesuvius volcano (Italy)”, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 133, 81–104.
Hostetter, E., Fouke, B.W., Lundstrom, C.C., 2011. “The Last Flow of Water to, and Through, the Baths of Caracalla: Age, Temperature and Chemistry”, Journal of Ancient Topography. Rivista di Topografia antica 21, 53–90.
Keenan-Jones, D.C., 2016. “Fountains, lead pipes and water systems in Pompeii, Rome and the Roman West”, Journal of Roman Archaeology 29, 778–785.
Keenan-Jones, D.C., 2015. “Somma-Vesuvian ground movements and the water supply of Pompeii and the Bay of Naples”, American Journal of Archaeology 119, 191–215.
Keenan-Jones, D.C., Vazanellis, G., Bowman, A., Hellstrom, J.C., Drysdale, R.N., Forthcoming: “The source and quality of water in past systems through travertine trace elements: a case study from Pompeii”, Journal of Cultural Heritage.
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Motta, D., Keenan-Jones, D., Garcia, M.H., Fouke, B.W., 2017. “Hydraulic Evaluation of the Design and Operation of Ancient Rome’s Anio Novus Aqueduct”, Archaeometry 59, 1150–1174.
Ohlig, C., 2001. De Aquis Pompeiorum – Das Castellum Aquae in Pompeji: Herkunft, Zuleitung und Verteilung des Wassers., Circumvesuviana. Books on Demand, Nijmegen.
Seymour, L.M., Keenan-Jones, D., Masic, A., Forthcoming: Reactive interface of recycled ceramics in mortars from ancient water infrastructure serving Rome and Pompeii. Matter.