Science: 1,000-year-old Viking toilet uncovered in Denmark

June 19, 2017
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Viking settlement had in the ancient time even a toilet, the scientists from the Museum Southeast Denmark reported. The 1,000-year-old Viking toilet uncovered on Stevns.

The Danish archaeologists have excavated a two-metre deep hole, which was the toilet for Vikings who lived there at least thousand years ago. The archaeologists used the radiocarbon analysis of the faeces layer dates back and concluded that two-metre hole was definitely the toilet, the oldest one in Denmark.

The discovery is controversial because it moves against earlier theories surrounding people’s toilet habits through time, say the researchers. In fact, the oldest toilet was excavated in the zone of Viking countryside, not inside a Viking city.

In Viking towns, the system of dealing with waste was developed well – lots of people meant lots of human waste. That was gathered together in one place in town, and in the same human waste in the countryside could be used as fertiliser – our modern system works in the same way, indeed.

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The data od tests and radiocarbon dating of the macrofossil and pollen revealed that there were mineralised seeds in the bottom layer—a process that takes place in low oxygen conditions with a high content of phosphate. The archaeobotanists also discovered a high concentration of fly pupae in the same layer.

Both results clearly suggest that the bottom of the hole were covered in a layer of poo -nature doesn’t lie. According to Kjartan Langsted, director of Museum Nordsjælland in Denmark noted that the ethnographic sources show that the first toilets were introduced in the countryside in the middle of the 1800s.

‘Before that it was normal to take care of business on a midden or in the stable. Everything was a resource to be used,’ 

explained Langsted.

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