[Sca-cooks] Theatre food in Elizabethan England

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Fri Feb 26 20:41:20 PST 2010

Daniel commented:
<<< Brings to mind the old very lame paleontologist joke about the  
student who had misplaced his coprolites. ... >>>

Okay. Remember, *you* brought this up. :-)

 From this file in the PERSONAL CARE section of the Florilegium.
p-privies-msg     (36K)  4/17/08  Period privies and toilet paper. bum- 

Another real-life tale in the lives of SCA folk...

From: tip at lead.aichem.arizona.edu (Tom Perigrin)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: wiping buns
Date: 7 Apr 1994 20:01:51 GMT
Organization: Department of Chemistry

jeffs at math.bu.EDU (Jeff Suzuki) wrote:
 > >One might infer that people wiped their bums before 1600 in spite  
of a
 > >lack of evidence to that effect.
 > Actually, there is evidence to that effect; at least, the Romans  
had a
 > thing (I'm not sure what it was called --- it was a towel on a stick,
 > basically) that was used for that purpose.  I assume that we know  
 > it was used for that purpose based on a, er, scatological analysis...
 > Tio

Oh yes...  one of my prized possesions is just such a bum-wipe.   A few
years ago a close friend was working on a rescue archeological site near
Hadrians wall near Vindolanda.  The main prize was the foundations of a
building, it's midden heap, and a cess pit, dating from 73-130 CE.   
it was a rescue dig, a lot of small stuff was being overlooked.  There  
a tacit understanding that if the volunteers wanted to dig around in the
tailings after hours, they could keep whatever they found, as long as  
promised to turn anything significant over to the site archeologist.

Some of the things my friend found included a lot of pottery shards, a  
nails, the bowl of a broken spoon (which was turned over), and a  
number of
scraps of woven cloth.  There were a lot of these scraps in the cess  
and they tended to measure about 5" by 7".  There was evidence they were
torn from larger pieces of cloth, and not cut.   The weave is a simple 4
harness twill weave, made from both linen or wool.   The colors or  
dyes did
not survive the long immersion in the less than lovely material in the  

  From the evidence of roughly uniform size, reminiscent of two-sheets  
modern bum-wipe, distribution, etc...  these bits of cloth were  
surmised to
be bum-wipes.  Although these sheets may originally have been smeared  
feces, it was impossible to distinquish direct smearing from the  
effects of
long emersion in a fecal-soup.

I won't go through the story of how I came to possess my bum-wipe, but  
it suffice to say that the "spirits" were invoked.  It has since been
washed according to BM standards for cleaning and preservation of  
and laid between two linen support sheets and encased in two sheets of  
free poster board, and lives in a safe deposit box.    I find it  
amusing to
think that nearly two millenia ago some person smeared feces on this rag
and cast it in a cess pit, and now it is a treasured artifact worthy of
sitting next to my deeds and family jewelry.

Of course, some people have said that my family jewels are about as
valuable as a used bum-wipe, but they are not really being nice.

Tom, speaking mundanely for Thomas Ignatius Perigrinus

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas          StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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