Archaeologists in China have discovered what they believe to be the world’s oldest flushing toilet. This 2,400-year-old toilet box and pipe were unearthed in the city of Xi’an, China, at an archaeological site.
“It is the first and only flush toilet to be ever unearthed in China,” says Liu Rui, a researcher involved in the project. Everyone at the site was surprised and burst into laughter!
Back then, toilets were considered a luxury item. This one is thought to have been used by an Emperor of China. Experts think the toilet was flushed manually by servants pouring lots of water into it.
Scientists hope to use the toilet to find out what people at the time may have eaten. To do that, they’re hoping to find tiny particles of poo to analyze – we hope they wash their hands after that job!
Before this discovery, Queen Elizabeth I of England was thought to be the first to use a flushing toilet. One of her friends at court, John Harington, invented a toilet similar to the one we use today, which poured water into the bowl using levers.
But the toilets we use now were invented by Thomas Crapper in the 1800s. He designed the pipes with a U-Bend in them to stop the toilet from smelling once it flushed. Before that, everyone made do with a bowl called a chamber pot, which people used to empty out of windows…look out below!
So, there you have it, folks! The world’s oldest flushing toilet has been discovered in China. Who knows what other interesting things are waiting to be found underground?