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Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3936-3974;

The Historical Development of Sewers Worldwide

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Salerno, via Ponte don Melillo, 1-84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy
Department of Architecture, University of Patra, Patra 265 04, Hellas
Social Sciences Department, Ladyss (UMR 7533-CNRS) and French Institute of Pondicherry (Umifre 21-CNRS/MAEE), Paris 8 University, 93200 Saint-Denis, France
Water Pollution Research Department, National Research Centre, Bohouth Str. Dokki, Cairo 12622, Egypt
International Water History Association, Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences, No. 577, Huan Cheng West Road, Kunming 650034, China
Department Ciencias de Antigüedad, Facultad Filosofia y Letras, University of Saragossa, P. Cerbuna 12, 50006 Saragossa, Spain
Centre for Water System, University of Exeter, Streatham Campus, Exeter EX6 7HS, UK
Faculty of Engineering, School of Rural and Surveying Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Hellas
Institute of Iraklion, National Foundation for Agricultural Research (N.AG.RE.F.), 71307 Iraklion, Hellas
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 February 2014 / Revised: 13 April 2014 / Accepted: 13 April 2014 / Published: 20 June 2014
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Although there is evidence of surface-based storm drainage systems in early Babylonian and Mesopotamian Empires in Iraq (ca. 4000–2500 BC), it is not until after ca. 3000 BC that we find evidence of the well organized and operated sewer and drainage systems of the Minoans and Harappans in Crete and the Indus valley, respectively. The Minoans and Indus valley civilizations originally, and the Hellenes and Romans thereafter, are considered pioneers in developing basic sewerage and drainage technologies, with emphasis on sanitation in the urban environment. The Hellenes and Romans further developed these techniques and greatly increased the scale of these systems. Although other ancient civilizations also contributed, notably some of the Chinese dynasties, very little progress was made during the Dark ages from ca. 300 AD through to the middle of the 18th century. It was only from 1850 onwards that that modern sewerage was “reborn”, but many of the principles grasped by the ancients are still in use today. This paper traces the development of the sewer from those earliest of civilizations through to the present day and beyond. A 6000 year technological history is a powerful validation of the vital contribution of sewers to human history. View Full-Text
Keywords: bathrooms; Bronze Ages; Byzantine world; Etruscan civilization; Indus valley civilization; Knossos; Lavatories; Roman Empire; Ottoman; Sanitation bathrooms; Bronze Ages; Byzantine world; Etruscan civilization; Indus valley civilization; Knossos; Lavatories; Roman Empire; Ottoman; Sanitation

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De Feo, G.; Antoniou, G.; Fardin, H.F.; El-Gohary, F.; Zheng, X.Y.; Reklaityte, I.; Butler, D.; Yannopoulos, S.; Angelakis, A.N. The Historical Development of Sewers Worldwide. Sustainability 2014, 6, 3936-3974.

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