2,000-year-old poo reveals Romans` rich diet

London: A British team has unearthed tonnes of 2,000-year-old ancient Roman poo from a sewer, throwing light on Romans` rich diet of urchins, dormice and figs, a media report said Wednesday.

The nine tonnes of historical excrement is among waste that has been found in the sewer system of the town of Herculaneum, which was buried by an eruption from nearby Mt Vesuvius near Naples in 79 AD, Daily Mail reported.

Experts involved in the conservation project uncovered the largest deposit of organic material ever found in the Roman world, the Mail said.

Tonnes of excrement has been sifted through by the historians as they search out clues about the diet and health of the ancient Romans that lived in the city.

The study has revealed a wealth of information about the types of food eaten by ordinary, lower-class Romans, showing they feasted on sea urchins and dormice as well as fish, figs, olives and eggs, according to the Mail.

In all, 774 sacks of human waste - enough to fill a lorry - have been excavated from the drains but so far only ten percent has been sifted and there are more than 7,000 kg left to go through, the report said.

"Sifting through tons of poo may not be everyone`s idea of enjoyment but to us its fascinating and we have discovered so much," the Mail quoted project director professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill as saying.

"It is the largest and fullest collection of ancient Roman waste ever excavated and it is actually very interesting to look at. In the past, archaeologists would throw it away because they didn`t have the technology that we have today," he added.


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