National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow

Affiliation: Brandeis University

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow (fondly known to her students at Brandeis as Prof. AOK-O from her initials) has done fieldwork at Herculaneum, Pompeii, and in Jordan, and Tunisia, and survey work or archaeological study in Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, and Turkey.  She works on Roman daily life, urban infrastructure, plumbing and hydraulics, baths and bathing practices, and toilets and sanitation.  She is a recently retired Kevy and Hortense Kaiserman Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Brandeis University, Director of the graduate M.A. program in Ancient Greek and Roman Studies, and Head of the Division of the Humanities at Brandeis University.  She holds an M.A. in Latin and Greek language and literature and a Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. She was the winner of the national award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching from the Archaeological Institute of America in 2016.  Her friends call her the “Queen of Latrines”. Dr. Koloski-Ostrow is one of the AIA’s 2022/2023 Norton Lecturers.


This talk considers the following: What can Roman toilets teach us about daily life in ancient Rome?  What does the archaeology of these structures reveal about Roman hygiene, public sanitation, customs related to purity or cleanliness? In a talk that investigates and illustrates some key examples of public and private Roman toilets from Rome, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Ostia, we take a trip down into the black holes of ancient space for some answers.


See Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow's work in the American Journal of Archaeology.

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