These Archaeologists Were Looking for Tombs, But They Were Totally Psyched to Find Toilets

The discovery of toilets at a Sudanese monastery indicates that the site was an important one

Ghazali monastery Mattnic

A group of archeologists working in Sudan thought that they would be excavating part of a cemetery at a medieval monastery, but instead they found toilets. A bunch of toilets.

From Past Horizons:

“Along the east wall of the monastery we excavated a row of 15 toilets. However it may sound and look, it is an important discovery. Nowhere else in Nubia has such a large sanitary complex been discovered”, explained Dr. Artur Obłuski from the University of Chicago, leader of the expedition.

Just like many public toilets today, the toilets back then had ceramic bowls and were located in rectangular stalls, allowing for a little bit of privacy. As an alternative to toilet paper people using the toilets used broken pottery to clean their nether regions—with the sharp edges smoothed away. 

Similar pottery pieces were identified at other archeological sites as game pieces until very recently, when their true nature came to light. 

The monastery complex in Sudan is situated just over ten miles away from the Nile River. Tourists do visit the site, but the most recent conservation efforts by the archaeological team involved putting stone walls across popular pathways and covering fragile areas with sand in an effort to limit further damage by visitors. 

Get the latest stories in your inbox every weekday.