Saturday, November 19, 2016

FLUSHED WITH PRIDE, WE OFFER
THE LATEST POOP ON WORLD TOILET DAY



TODAY November 19 is WORLD TOILET DAY and we are flushed with pride to have kept you on the edge of your seats for five years with headlines on what's new in ancient toilets.

In Ancient Rome, many people believed demons lurked in the sewers ... which meant going to the latrine exposed very delicate parts of the anatomy to demonic attack.

For that reason, lavatories in Rome sometimes featured frescoes emblazoned with protective deities and apotropaic serpents shielding a person squatting in a vulnerable position ... to ward off evil.

In the fresco above, some ancient visitor to a lavatory scrawled graffiti saying: "Cacator cave malum" which means "He who defecates here, beware of evil!"

We were the first to report the discovery by Philippe Charlier, a Parisian forensic expert, that Ancient Greek ceramic discs which hitherto had been thought to be gaming pieces may actually have been used as a form of ANCIENT TOILET PAPER.

Charlier (pictured here) presented among other things, a Greek proverb stating, "Three stones are enough to wipe one's arse," as evidence that such stones were used to clean up after going to the bathroom.

This blog also was among the first to report on the discovery of the world's oldest WOODEN TOILET SEAT in September 2014 at Vindolanda Roman Fort near Hadrian's Wall in northern England.

Experts at Vindolanda believe it is the only find of its kind and dates from the 2nd Century, which dates to the time when the Emperor and Antinous may have visited on an inspection tour.

The site, near Hexham, has previously revealed gold and silver coins and other artefacts of the Roman army. The seat (at right) was discovered in a muddy trench, which was previously filled with rubbish.

Dr Andrew Birley, director of excavations at Vindolanda, told the BBC: "We know a lot about Roman toilets from previous excavations at the site and from the wider Roman world, which have included many fabulous Roman latrines.

"But never before have we had the pleasure of seeing a surviving and perfectly preserved wooden seat.

"As soon as we started to uncover it there was no doubt at all on what we had found. It is made from a very well worked piece of wood and looks pretty comfortable. Now we need to find the toilet that went with it as Roman loos are fascinating places to excavate ... their drains often contain astonishing artefacts," he said.

"Let's face it, if you drop something down a Roman latrine you are unlikely to attempt to fish it out unless you are pretty brave or foolhardy."

Dr Birley said many examples of stone and marble toilet benches existed from across the Roman Empire, but this is believed to be the only surviving wooden seat.

He said it was probably preferred to a cold stone seat given the "chilly northern location".

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