Roman soldiers "meditated" in comfort

Finding objects relating to everyday life is common for archaeologists at Vindolanda, the Roman fort near Hadrian's Wall, but the recent discovery of a wooden toilet seat - the oldest known - was special moment.

The well-used seat was found amidst other trash left when the fort was abandoned. "We know a lot about Roman toilets from previous excavations at the site and from the wider Roman world which have included many fabulous Roman latrines but never before have we had the pleasure of seeing a surviving and perfectly preserved wooden seat. As soon as we started to uncover it there was no doubt at all on what we had found. It is made from a very well worked piece of wood and looks pretty comfortable," said Director of Excavations, Dr Andrew Birley, who found the artifact.