700-Year-Old Poop Found, Still Reeks

But hey, it's in 'excellent condition'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2014 8:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – One of the biggest urban archaeological digs Denmark has ever seen has uncovered a lowly part of history. "We are talking about 700-year-old latrines. And yes, they still smell bad," an archaeologist explains. The team stumbled on what appears to be a 14th-century communal toilet area in the medieval town of Odense, unearthing a number of medieval barrels filled with human waste. And in case you were wondering, the poop the barrels contained was in "excellent condition," reports Discovery News, with the Copenhagen Post explaining that its "putrid odor" hadn't diminished over the centuries.

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But it's more than just stinky. It actually tells researchers a lot about how the people of the time lived. (LiveScience notes latrine samples from roughly the same period in Cyprus revealed the intestinal parasites that plagued the crusaders there.) "Preliminary results of analysis show that raspberries were popular in Odense in the 1300s," the head archaeologist reveals. "The contents also contain small pieces of moss, leather, and fabric, which were used as toilet paper." Want to take a whiff for yourself? Well, you're in, um, luck. The site offers free tours, two days a week. (Latrines found in Pompeii have revealed some unusual Roman eating habits.)

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