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
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.