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Castle moats: More than just defense

Two new studies are revealing that castle moats had more than just defensive functions.

Over 2,000 years ago, residents of at least one royal palace enjoyed convenient indoor toilets, with the contents regularly transported to the stately mansion’s surrounding moat, according to a recent excavation. The dig also found that the inhabitants struggled, and likely failed, to keep the waste flowing away from the palace.

Yet another recent excavation at an estate in Scotland indicates moat water held spiritual and possibly even “cosmological” significance. Together, the two studies suggest ancient moats served functions that were not always related to defense.

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