The toilet seat predates Hadrian's Wall and is the only known survivor of its kind. The only reason it didn't decompose and crumble into dust is that Vindolanda has an oxygen-free environment, which really drives home the fact that we'd all live forever if only we didn't have to breathe. The toilets of Vindolanda are apparently a very good place to look if you want to find some really weird shit ... uh, figuratively. The teams there have found coins (who hasn't dropped pennies into the john?), a lamp (ditto!), and a betrothal medallion (thus leading unaccredited archaeologists everywhere to speculate our ancestors married toilets).
Another butt-related Roman discovery, while we're at it: We've found a painful alternative to spongia, the sponge on a stick that Romans used to wipe themselves. In the '60s, archaeologists found what they assumed were ceramic board game pieces; only recently did they come to theorize that they're actually pessoi, discs that those who weren't into spongia used to wipe their asses.
Jamie Lorriman/Solent News
Holy shit, Demolition Man was right.
Pessoi weren't just functional; they were also decorative and even symbolic. Some pessoi have been painted with pictures of people wiping themselves (in case you forget how?). Others were inscribed with the names of the folks their owners hated the most. Subtlety was never a Roman virtue.
A Bottle Filled With Urine, Fingernail Clippings, Belly Button Lint, And Other Bizarre Things
What do you get when you combine a jar, some pins, nails, lint, fingernail clippings, hair, and your own pee? Today, the answer would be "ejected from society," but in the 17th century, your neighbor would be too busy making his own horrifying piss-jar to pay attention to yours. The finished product was called a "witch bottle" ... and yes, there are still some around.
Mike Pitts/British Archaeology
If you've spent more than two minutes on Etsy, you've probably seen something similar.
The best example of a witch bottle, unearthed upside-down in Greenwich, England, was analyzed and found to contain "human urine, brimstone, 12 iron nails, eight brass pins, hair, possible navel fluff, a piece of heart-shaped leather pierced by a bent nail, and 10 fingernail clippings." The purpose of a witch bottle was to protect oneself from evil by literally trapping it within the jar. People also put little angry faces on the bottle, because branding is important.
Andrew Norton/National Geographic
We get like that when we're constipated too.
Documents from the Old Bailey in 1682 tell of a Spitalfields apothecary who suggested that a husband who believed his wife to be a victim of black magic "take a quart of your Wive's urine, the paring of her Nails, some of her Hair, and such like, and boyl them well in a Pipkin." One of the things that makes the Greenwich witch bottle so special is that, without it, experts would have looked at that report and laughed, because it's just too ridiculous. But once again, we've been shown that our great-great-great-great-grandparents, whoever and wherever they may have been, were some freaky wife-urine-hoarding motherfuckers. (Or some type of ancestor-fuckers, anyway.)
While we're on the topic, check out 5 Famous Historical Figures You Didn't Know Were Perverts and 5 Ridiculous Sex Myths From History (You Probably Believe).
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