Cuniculus (water channel)

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This article is about diversionary water channels. For Cuniculus, the zoological genus, see Paca.

Fosso dei Costaroni, remains of an Etruscan cuniculus at Formello.

A cuniculus, plural cuniculi, is a diversionary water channel, used by ancient civilizations on the Italian Peninsula. As the general ancient Italian use derives from the Etruscan use, the term has a special significance of Etruscan cuniculi. The city of Veii was noted for them. The Italian community of Formello to the north of Veii was named after the numerous cuniculi there.[1]

Cuniculi could take any form from trenches to a complex system of tunnels. The uses were multiple: irrigation, drainage, diversion, supply, and so on. The Romans used the cuniculi of Veii to mine into the citadel.


  1. Everitt, A (2012), The Rise of Rome, page 122.