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History has always told us that the Romans were tremendously clean and that thanks to the public baths they had great hygiene. More than 2,000 years ago they included latrines in public bathrooms, with areas for personal hygiene and also an effective sewage system as well as drinking water, heating, and aqueducts.
All of these advancements have earned them a reputation for cleanliness, but new archaeological research may bring down everything we know today and refute that supposed cleaning, changing it for the opposite.
After an archaeological investigation, it has been tried to show that despite so many devices for hygiene, many Romans had different intestinal parasites such as worms, Trichina and dysentery Entamoeba histolytica among many others.
The doctor Piers Mitchell, from the Department of Archeology and Anthropology of the Department of Cambridge, was in charge of carrying out this research, this being the first time that they are used archaeological evidence of parasites in Roman times to be able to define what were the intestinal affections of the Romans at that time.
In his research he gathered a large number of evidence in the form of parasites in ancient latrines, burials and coprolites as well as some textiles and even combs found during the Roman excavations that have been carried out until now.
In addition to intestinal parasites, their research determined that there were also lots of remains of ectoparasites such as lice and fleas, which clashes head on with the belief that the Romans were fanatics of grooming and personal hygiene.
According to his own words, current research has shown that toilets, drinking water and the removal of excrement from streets by using water, were able to spread both infectious diseases and parasites, a very important problem today.
Another of Mitchell's theories is that one of the ways the parasites spread was through the communal waters of bathhouses Since the water was changed infrequently in some baths, this was an excellent breeding ground for the proliferation of bacteria, changing our historical perspective about the neatness and hygiene that we have always believed that the Romans enjoyed.
It is incredible that after having devised so many advances, the Romans did not stop to change the waters of the public baths more frequently.
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