January 23, 2013

Chess or Toilet Paper?

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal has confirmed that pessoi, ceramic discs thought to be game pieces in ancient chess-like strategy games, were put to a more utilitarian use: "toilet paper". 

Researchers examined two terracotta pessoi, probably fragments from broken amphorae, found in the filling underneath Roman latrines close to excrement deposits. The fragments were recut to have smoother edges. Examination under a microscope found solidified and partially mineralized feces.

There is also artistic evidence of the use of pottery fragments for wiping. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a kylix (a wine cup) that has a rather cut and dry depiction on the tondo, the flat round inside the cup.

Until now, the pessoi had been cataloged as pieces in an intellectual game. I guess they'll have to "wipe" the slate clean and start reclassifying these artifacts as a being used for a less cerebral purpose. 

1 comment:

  1. This was great!! Gonna refference back to a show you were on and say in the case it would have been better to sqeeze the Shawman..lol