An examination of some strange ceramic disks found at the Fishbourne Roman Palace is changing how we look at some of the most private aspects of Roman life.
Excavations at the palace in the past 50 years have uncovered dozens of pieces of broken pottery that had been deliberately shaped into flat disks. Archaeologists tentatively called them gaming pieces but were never convinced that was correct. Now a new study published in the British Medical Journal suggests they were used to wipe Roman ass crack.
Palace curator Dr. Rob Symmons said in a press release, “Obviously, we will have to think about re-classifying these objects on our catalogue and then we will look into a scientific analysis to identify any tell-tale residues that prove that these objects were used for anal cleaning. Which should be fun.”
Perhaps dip them in water and sniff?
It was already known that the Romans used sponges soaked in vinegar on the end of a stick to wash their rear ends. Ceramic disks wouldn’t have been as hygienic (or comfortable) but could have worked.
Fishbourne in West Sussex is the largest Roman villa in Britain. Built in the first century A.D., its floors were decorated with elaborate mosaics that are in a remarkable state of preservation. It’s unclear who lived there. Archaeologists have suggested either a Roman governor or a local British chieftain who threw in his lot with the conquerors. The palace burnt down around the year 270.
[Photo courtesy Fishbourne Roman Palace]
If you’re taking a bus to the airport, the last thing you want to see is one of your fellow passengers carrying a gun, especially if you’re in England and you know the guy probably doesn’t have permission to own one.
That’s just what happened to a passenger going to Gatwick Airport near London this morning. As soon as his bus arrived at the airport’s South Terminal he notified police and they wasted no time tasering the suspect and putting him in custody. According to this early report nobody else was injured and the suspect, who is described only as a man in his 40s, apparently had not made any threats to passengers or airport staff. He is now being questioned.
Gadling will post a followup to this story as more details emerge.
Why is it always the postmen?
Robert Russell had added “former” to his “mail carrier” title after being laid off by Royal Mail. So, he took a trip to Malaga, Spain. This isn’t unusual; plenty of people do something nice for themselves after losing their jobs. It’s great for morale.
It didn’t work.
Russell got wasted on lager and vodka in the Gatwick departure lounge. By the time he was literally flying high, he threatened to kill his fellow passengers and at one point tried to get off the plane early … via an emergency exit at 30,000 feet. The closest thing to a caring moment was when this unruly passenger yelled at a flight attendant, “Oi, blondie. Come and sit here so I can stroke you.”
At one point, he said he would take down the entire plane … an awfully ambitious claim for a guy who couldn’t get the emergency door open. Eventually, crew and passengers were able to subdue the former postal employee, following his physical display of stereotype. .
All this happened on October 15, 2008. The Brighton Crown Court has finally ruled. Russell is banned from every airport in the United Kingdom for five years and will have to pay a fine of £4,643. A 12-month prison sentence was suspended for two years. And, in case there’s hope for the passenger’s humanity, he’s been ordered to complete 200 hours of community service.
As crazy as this incident sounds, in-flight disruptions are more common in Gatwick than you may realize. Sussex Police had to address 58 incidents on planes last year … an increase of almost 20 percent from the 50 in 2007.