ARCHAEOLOGISTS AT a Roman fort more used to finding coins, weapons and tools have found a 2,000-year-old perfectly preserved wooden toilet seat.
Historical experts conducting the dig at Vindolanda fort on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland believe it is the only find of its kind. The site has previously revealed gold and silver or artefacts which relate to the military might of the Roman army, as well as everyday items like letters, shoes and babies’ booties.
Dr Andrew Birley, who is director of excavations at the fort, made the discovery himself in a muddy trench which was previously filled with historic rubbish. It was well preserved by the anaerobic, oxygen-free conditions among the refuse.
There are many examples of stone and marble toilet benches from across the Roman Empire but this is believed to be the only surviving wooden seat – perhaps preferred to a cold stone seat given the chilly northern location.
It was thrown out from a fort which stood at the site before Hadrian’s Wall was started in the early second century.
The toilet seat will go on show at the museum once it has undergone a preservation process.