Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Roman Bath Museum - Crap on a Stick

The Roman Bath Museum is a little gem tucked away in a quiet corner of York. It exhibits the remains of the Roman baths, erected in order to keep the soldiers of Eboracum clean and hygienic, and stop them from declining and falling all over the place.

The Roman Baths - how it might have looked
The museum's Assistant Curator, Brad Kirkland, explains to the Privy Counsel how the Romans used advanced technology to make the walls of their baths heat-transmitting and waterproof. A giant furnace contained a boiler, partially encased in concrete, from which water was transferred into lead pipes and, Mr Kirkland assures us, extracted from a mixer tap! If only Roman technology were reintroduced into these barbaric lands!

A Roman bog
Each soldier had his own "bog roll on a stick", consisting of a stick with a sponge attached to it, for wiping his bottom. Should he lose his own stick, he need not despair - a bucket of communal sponges, hygienically soaked in vinegar, was available if times became desperate. Does the "good Roman" of New Testament fame suddenly appear in a new light?

The museum's Assistant Curator, Brad Kirkland, demonstrating the Roman "bog roll on a stick"
A happy archaeologist in a Roman sewer. Such an elevating profession!

The Roman Bath Museum
9 St. Sampson's Square
York YO1 8RN
01904 620 455

Related Reading
A Roman Moment
Wasting Away: More Roman Bog Roll
Wasting Away: More Roman Bog Roll II
Roaring Good Roman Fun
Hypocausts - A Hot Topic!
The Finer Points of Roman Hygiene
Nunc Est Lavandum - Bath-Time!

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