Ancient parasites show that cleanliness may have been next to sickliness
According to the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, discovery of ancient latrines in Israel is providing archeologists a major hint to group bathing and ritual purity as the ironic reasons for poor health among the Essenes around the time of Jesus. Members of the all-male Jewish sect are believed by many to have authored the Dead Sea scrolls. Also see more details of this discovery at EurekAlert, a website of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte or read the Press Release of UNCC.
Telling young children that there were no televisions, movies, or radio, no electric or traffic lights, no refrigerators, or air conditioners, no cars, trains, or airplanes, doesn't convey the "primitive" conditions nearly so well as explaining that instead of using toilet paper, they used a communal sponge -- dutifully rinsed out after use. For the rest of the story go to About.com Ancient / Classical History
In Japan, palaeoparasitology research has been limited almost entirely to investigations of toilet sediments and coprolites. The first detection of the parasite eggs in the Japanese archaeology began with the analysis of a cesspit, which was found during the excavation of the Fujiwara Palace Site at Kashihara City of Nara Prefecture, which was the capital of Japan from 694 till 710 AD. Through the development of palaeoparasitology an entirely new field has been opened, making possible deeper and more revealing research regarding the food customs of ancient people.
And what about the bathroom? You may know that medieval toilets left much to be desired--for quite a few reasons. In some castles, the urinal might simply be a hole in the floor. Castle toilets known as Garderobes were built out of stone (sometimes with a stone seat, sometimes with wood) and projected out over the castle walls, so that the waste would drop below-- outside the castle walls.
Chinese women and men have used separate toilets for at least 1,800 years, according to archeologists.
A pair of toilets were discovered in 1,800-year-old tombs of the Han Dynasty in Henan province, buried with the dead. Ancient Chinese people believed the dead could use the things buried with them -- even toilets.
"History of the Toilet" continues on