WEIRD WEDNESDAY: 500 Years Of History Down The Drain…Fortunately!


Earlier this week, scientists in Scotland came to the realization that a discovery from 1990 was actually quite significant: a 500 year old undisturbed drain was a goldmine for archaeologists from Glasgow University.

The find occurred on the grounds of Paisley Abbey, which was founded as a Cluniac priory in 1163 and became an abbey in 1245. The monastery was disbanded during the Scottish Reformation, in 1560, when the monastic buildings were handed over to the Hamilton family.

From Thandian News:

An initial excavation revealed an arched corridor almost six feet high (pictured right) and uncovered pottery fragments and gaming pieces, a complete chamber pot, and other artifacts.

Archaeology professor Steven Driscoll, part of the Glasgow team, said the site was extremely well preserved. “What’s unusual is that it hasn’t been messed with. This is a loo that hasn’t been flushed for 500 years. We have a kind of sealed environment, containing artifacts like the earliest known piece of Scottish music, which we found scratched into pieces of slate,” he said.

“The monks here were part of an internationally connected order. They were using Paisley as a kind of communications centre – as we can see from these tags we’ve found, which were the binding of boxes being shipped to the continent,” he added.

“We’ll be finding out about the sorts of things that were growing in the gardens, and the things they were eating. So, it’s possible to reconstruct the lifestyle of the monks,” he further added.