Lead water pipe, Roman, 81-96 CE

81-96 CE in Roman Empire

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Length of inscribed lead water pipe, Roman, probably reign of Domitian from inscription, 81-96 AD

Cast into the side of this lead water pipe are the words “R III DOMITA”, suggesting the pipe was made during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian (81-96 CE). In some Roman towns and cities, piped water supplies were installed which were of a complexity and sophistication that would not be repeated for many centuries. Unfortunately, at the time it was not realised that lead reacts with water to create toxins, some of which are harmful to the body. It also affects the taste of the water.

The pipe was bought as part of the collection of Evangelista Gennaro Gorga (1865-1957), the Italian tenor, in 1924. The collection consisted mainly of Roman instruments and votive offerings.

Related people


Classical & Medieval Medicine
Object Number:
water pipe
  • pipe - conduit
Gorga, Evangelista

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