JCU Hosts Conference on Ancient Aqueducts, Baths and Sewers

Parco degli acquedotti Roma

Parco degli acquedotti – Rome

John Cabot University hosted an evening of lectures as part of the Frontinus Society’s annual conference, “De Aquaeductu Urbis Romae: The Legacy of Sextus Iulius Frontinus International Congress on the History of Water Management and Hydraulic Engineering in the Mediterranean Region” on November 13th, 2018. The society unites archaeologists, engineers, and historians from all over the world in order to explore the aqueducts, baths, fountains, latrines, and sewers of ancient civilizations. This year’s edition took place in Rome, from November 10 to 18. The lectures were complemented by excursions to the famous aqueducts and baths of the ancient Roman Empire.

Professor Inge Hansen, chair of the Art History Department opened the evening by welcoming the participants to John Cabot. In her introduction, Professor Hansen expressed her admiration for the conference’s extensive program of 46 lectures and excursions and praised the participants’ enthusiasm.

Ya'akov Billig

Ya’akov Billig

Frontinus Society secretary Gilbert Wiplinger and JCU professor Jens Koehler then introduced the evening’s speakers. Ya’akov Billig, an experienced archaeologist at Israel’s Antiquities Authority, presented “Recent Excavations along the High-Level Aqueduct to Jerusalem and their Contribution to the Research of Jerusalem’s Water Supply.” He gave a detailed report on his excavations of one of Jerusalem’s aqueducts and finished with a 3D bird’s eye video reanimation of the archaeological site. Next, Ünal Özis, an 82-year old hydraulic engineering professor from Turkey, presented “Parallels in the Water-Conveyance Systems of Rome and Istanbul in Two Millennia.” He gave a side-by-side comparison of the evolution of water supply systems in ancient Rome and Constantinople. He outlined the use of aqueducts in ancient times, then discussed methods of water management in the medieval period before ending with a discussion of modern systems.

In addition to hosting an evening of informative lectures, John Cabot also aided in the Conference’s production of the excursion guide, compiled with the help of JCU intern Katelynn Cunningham. The Frontinus Society would like to thank President Franco Pavoncello and the staff of John Cabot University their generous contributions.

(Jens Koehler)