2,400-year-old ancient flush toilet was discovered in China
Dating back 2,400 years, Chinese archeologists discovered a manual flush toilet in the Yueyang archaeological site in Xi'an, Shaanxi province of China, last summer. Eventually, they pieced together the broken part of the toilet. The toilet may cast light on what humans consumed during that time.
As reported by China Daily, the toilet was found amid a palace's ruins in the ancient city of Yueyang. It is thought to have been used by Qin Xiaogong, Qin Xian'gong, or both during the Warring States Period.
According to Liu Rui, a researcher at the Institute of Archaeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who was a member of the excavation team in Yueyang, a "luxury object" like a flush toilet would only have been utilized by extremely high-ranking members of the society during that time.
"It is the first and only flush toilet to be ever unearthed in China. Everybody at the site was surprised, and then we all burst into laughter," Liu said.
Liu claimed that because the flush toilet's upper half was not discovered during the excavation, specialists can't say whether or not its users sat on it or knelt over it.
"The flush toilet is concrete proof of the importance the ancient Chinese attached to sanitation," Liu added.
Large-scale excavations in Yueyang
Archaeologists have been carrying out extensive excavations in Yueyang, which is currently a part of Xi'an's Yanliang district, since 2012. The toilet was found at the No 3 site.
"Besides all written records, we can learn more about social reforms and systems of the kingdom by digging deeper into ancient palaces," Liu said.
Experts are examining the dirt inside to discover any signs of human waste and understand ancient people's dietary habits. The soil samples have so far only produced traces of the fertilizers that farmers used during the Han Dynasty.
A short history of the flush toilet
Modern sanitation was first discovered in Europe in the 16th century. Sir John Harrington, Elizabeth I's godson, is credited with creating the flush toilet. Around 1592, he created a water closet with an elevated cistern and a little downpipe through which water ran to flush the waste.