Rain and wastewater management in Roman Mirobriga (Santiago do Cacém, Portugal). An overview of the evacuation system

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


From the turn of the Era onwards, the administrative reforms lead to the creation of numerous urban centres throughout Hispania. Some of which coincident with previous settlements whose importance or strategic geographic implantation were deemed as optimal for the creation of the new municipia.
Such was the case for the small urban centre identified with Mirobriga, an oppidum stipendiarium mentioned by Pliny (Nat. IV. 35. 118) and Ptolemy (Geo. II. V), located near what is now Santiago do Cacém, in Portugal. The site has its origins in the Iron Age and was subject to an extensive construction program in the second half of the 1st century CE, where most of the public buildings where built.
Unlike most of the cities created ex nihil or largely transformed in this period, Mirobriga never received an underground sewage network, leaving all the rain and wastewater to run freely throughout its streets.
In this presentation we analyse the town’s topographical environ, characterized by a series of small to medium sized hills, and the way the different buildings were placed in the terrain, resulting in different strategies to evacuate and control the flow of water throughout the streets and to displace it outside the urban perimeter.
Period1 Sept 2022
Event titleEAA Annual Meeting Session #222 - Ad Salubritatem Civitatum : The Archaeology of Water Evacuation Infrastructures in Roman Urban Settlements
Event typeConference
Conference number222
LocationBudapest, HungaryShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Waste management
  • Sanitation
  • Orography
  • Lusitania