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Helle's toilet: 12th-century three-person loo seat goes on display

Archaeologists know the names of the owners of the building where plank of oak sat


Jnei 8 Feb 13
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Funny, thinking of how of how, in their wildest imaginations, the users of this would never have thought it would end up in a museum. I once saw a public toilet in Greece with dozens of holes carved in stone that were so close together that it would have been a very open, communal experience..

LB67 Level 7 Feb 13, 2019

The ancient Romans had similar toilets but they had both Male and Female ones as well as with their Public Baths.
Another thing about ancient Romans is that both men and women wore perfumes, not only to make them smell fresh, etc, but also to lessen the 'effects' of odours arising from city streets, etc.

@Triphid I had wondered if they separated the sexes. We were told that they used sponges on sticks to clean up and had fresh water in small troughs in order to clean them. This led to wondering if they shared these gross sponges or, shudders...carried their own with them.

@LB67 I've read that running water was channeled under the benches to carry away wastes. The sponges were rinsed in the "stream" and left for the next user.

@JimG I thought that might have been the story. Very hard to imagine the shared sponges. Nightmarish.

@LB67 The Romans did use sponges on sticks to 'clean up afterwards ' according to finds made in Pompey and Herculaneum, they also collected human urine for use in washing cloth and clothing since the ammonia in the urine dissolved grease and body oils.

@LB67 toilet paper has only been around for a very short period of human history. I'm glad I was born after its invention. 😉

@Triphid seems like perfumes would have been essential, just for survival. Of course, the scents would have been natural, as opposed to the strange chemical soup that we use to mimic natural aromas, nowadays.

@JimG I am with you, on that. I believe that a good chunk of the world now uses water sprays attached to their toilets. They might think we are behind the times.

@LB67 I'm pretty sure we are.

@JimG Have you ever tried using squares of paper cut from newspapers, I did back in the 50s when I was a child it was simply because the ' new fangled date roll ( toilet paper) was, a) too expensive for working class people to be able to afford, and, b) it was so bloody harsh and rough you could sand down timber with it.
When my 2 older and very uppity sisters would complain about the newspaper squares being " harsh on their lady bits" Dad would tell them, " Well just grab a handful of leaves from the lemon tree on your way to dunny and use them."

@Triphid No, I'm one generation removed from the Sears catalog in the outhouse days. I grew up in a small town that had been an company town owned by a factory that closed 4 years before I was born.

Many of the yards still had outhouse, but the homes had been upgraded to indoor plumbing over the years prior to the failure of the factory.

@JimG You are so 'fortunate' then because you will never know what you truly 'missed ' out on....LOL.


I guess people had different expectations of privacy back then... I wonder if there were even separate ones for males & females? I always imagined Europeans back then as modest & reserved...

Carin Level 8 Feb 13, 2019

Modest and Reserved? You have to joking, I've seen docos, factual documentaries with accompanied evidence that the Upper Class Europeans and the English as well were quite at ease with merely shitting around the Dining Areas whilst others were still dining, of course they'd, mostly, simply 'drop their dacks' in some corner or other or against the nearest wall, leaving it to cleaned up by the servants, etc.


Seen a few old 2 holer long drop Outback dunnies (toilets) in my time around the Aussie Bush, they've always been a big hole for adult bums and a smaller one for the ankle-biters.
Aussies in the Outback are renowned for their often very unconventional sense of humour and I've seen bush dunnies with name plates saying things like, "Parliament House," " 4U2P," " Buckingham Palace," " Blowfly City," " the Library," " the Whitehouse," "Shit 'n Stink" and even one with " Moon River" on the name plate but in the bush men (and some women as well) find a bush to pee behind UNLESS they have the need to do both, then it's a definite sit down on the job.
But the 'particular' aroma of the Long Drop Dunny is something that once experienced is something never forgotten....LOL.

Triphid Level 8 Feb 13, 2019

A three hole so what

bobwjr Level 9 Feb 13, 2019

A neighbor had a ,"two seater ," it wasn't so two people could use it at once . There was a larger hole for adults to use , and a smaller one so the children wouldn't fall into the pit .

Cast1es Level 8 Feb 13, 2019

Norse longhouses in Iceland had rooms attached to one end, with potty seats attached to each wall. The 4-6 seater privies were situated over a stream, which ran through the house at that point. The upstream part was where you got drinking and cooking water from. The downstream part carried away waste water. Both adults and children could use the loo together. And of course, both sexes as well.

davknight Level 7 Feb 13, 2019

Wondering how far downstream the adjoining neighbor is! And very concerned about the upstream one! LOL . Of course, being the furthest upstream is probably the lucky spot!

@mkeaman Good point! As a note of interest, the pagan Norse liked their elbow room. But where they built their homes was up to a council of elders who, presumably tried to give them as much elbow room as possible!

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