excremental stories

Sometimes, bodies tell the strangest stories. And really, it’s not the body that tells those stories, but that stuff the body has processed and (r)ejected.   Archeologists will tell you that latrines, toilets, privies and the like are filled with data, and not just biological data. The latrine is a scrap heap filled with archeological treasure: broken pipes, pottery, bits of bodies, screws…. you’d be amazed what turns up in the loo!

At the Colony of Avalon in Ferryland, along the Newfoundland coast, the latrine area fed directly into the ocean, flushing twice a day with the tides. And in medieval Odense, in Denmark, they filled up barrels.

But my forensic-anthropology-BONES-loving self was more delighted with this recent bit of news: “Analysis of fecal matter from the natural mummy of Cangrande della Scala, a medieval warlord and the patron of the poet Dante Alighieri, has established the Italian nobleman was poisoned with a deadly heart-stopping plant known as Digitalis or foxglove.”

Imagine solving a murder at 800 years’ remove! Fascinating.


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