“After the collapse of the Roman Empire, toilet technology came to a bit of a standstill,” the book reads.
The Romans did build many structures seemingly dedicated to improving sanitation—in addition to public toilets, they had bathhouses and sewer systems like the giant Cloaca Maxima in Rome.
“They [also] introduced legislation so that towns had to clear away the waste from the roads and things and take all that waste mess outside towns,” says Piers Mitchell, a paleopathologist at the University of Cambridge. “You’d expect those things to improve the health of the people that lived there as a result.”
READ MORE: Roman Plumbing: Overrated