by hui yuan

 Ancient bottom wipers yield evidence of diseases carried along the Silk Road

Travellers on the Silk Road, the most famous trade route of the ancient world, were bringing more than the precious fabric with them out of China. Some bamboo sticks with scraps of grimy cloth wound around them have been identified as bottom wipers from a latrine pit in a 2,000-year-old Chinese relay station on the Silk Road. They have also preserved the first solid evidence of disease spread from east to west by travellers.

2000-year-old personal hygiene sticks with remains of cloth, excavated from the latrine at Xuanquanzhi. Photograph: Hui-Yuan Yeh/ Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.