Down the drain (pipe)

You may remember that back in November we blogged about the amazing system of drains that covered the site. Well, this week we uncovered a particularly nice example.

An archaeologist cleans around the timber drain (c) MOLA 2013

An archaeologist cleans around the timber drain (c) MOLA 2013

The southern end is truncated (partially cut away) by the foundations of a 1950s building, so we cannot be certain exactly where it led, but the surviving section runs from north to south (in the direction of the Thames rather than the Walbrook).

The northern end appears to be complete, with the remains of what could be a wooden down pipe still in place.

Near to the truncation the drain gets considerably smaller. The much wider and deeper northern part is connected to a narrow southern channel by a lead pipe, nailed into the wood.

Photograph taken from above, showing how the drain narrows at one end (c) MOLA 2013

Photograph taken from above, showing how the drain narrows at one end (c) MOLA 2013

The archaeologist's hand shows the position of the lead pipe (c) MOLA 2013

The archaeologist’s hand shows the position of the lead pipe (c) MOLA 2013

We believe that what we are looking at is a water trough. Clean water would be fed into the trough through the downpipe, which was probably positioned to catch rainwater as it ran off a nearby roof. The narrowing of the channel to the south would cause water to back up and fill the larger northern portion. This would allow clean rainwater to collect whilst maintaining a flow to stop it becoming stagnant or overflowing.

Similar drains were found during the excavations at No.1 Poultry, and may have been widespread across Roman Britain; they’re much easier to build than a deep well, and have many more uses. We can only speculate as to how many Roman togas and amphora were washed here, not to mention how many Bacchic revelers tried to sober themselves up in it!

If nothing else, its a shame to let all this rainwater go to waste!

Advertisements

One thought on “Down the drain (pipe)

  1. Pingback: This discovery is so versatile | Walbrook Discovery Programme

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s