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Gross! Roman toilet paper mistaken for toys

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 18th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Ancient artifacts in a British museum have been reclassified as Roman toilet paper. Previously they were displayed as gaming pieces until researchers took another look at them. The artifacts are made of ceramic, and would have been rather - uncomfortable.

LONDON, ENGLAND (Catholic Online) - Dr. Robert Symmons, curator of the Fisbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex, has announced that new research indicates the ceramic disks, once identified as gaming pieces, were used as sanitary devices, the ancient equivalent of toilet paper.

The research was published in the British Medical Journal.

According to researchers, the rounded disks, called pessoi, were commonly used by Romans to wipe their backsides after using the facilities. Researchers say that despite the rounded edges, the disks would have been uncomfortable by modern standards.

It is commonly known that Romans often used wet sponges to wipe themselves, but the pessoi were also used in many circumstances.

Close inspections of similar disks unearthed in Athens and dating to the Roman era, shows that Romans often inscribed the names of people they did not like on the disks before using them - likely for fun.

A matching Greek proverb was also cited by Phillipe Charlier, a French Professor who was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying "Three stones are enough to wipe..." The full proverb is specific about what was being wiped and hints at the ancient Roman practice of using the pessoi for personal hygiene.

For the past 50 years, one museum in England displayed their pessoi as broken gaming pieces. Now they will need to be reclassified.

The recent revelations also sheds light on the real reason why archaeologists and curators often handle unknown ancient artifacts with latex gloves.

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