Hershel Shanks

When laid end to end, the channeled stones together resemble a runnel similar to those commonly installed in communal latrines throughout the Roman Empire (see “The Puzzling Channels in Ancient Latrines,” in this issue). Excavators suggest that the latrine was part of a Roman-Byzantine bathhouse near where the Umayyads planned to build a new palace complex. In clearing the site for their construction the Umayyads dismantled the old bathhouse and recycled some of the stones for their own purposes.