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Page last updated at 12:04 GMT, Monday, 5 July 2010 13:04 UK
Plans to display 1,000 year old poo in Gloucestershire

Archaeologist David Rice with Medieval poo
Archaeologist David Rice has been studying the Medieval poo

People have flocked to see 1,000-year-old human faeces, previously kept hidden in the Gloucester City Museum & Art Gallery.

11,000 visitors saw it when it was loaned to the Gloucestershire County Council's Archaeology Service for their display in the Discovery Zone of the Cheltenham Science Festival last month.

It proved to be so popular with visitors that it will be shown again at the Tewkesbury Medieval Fair this weekend (10-11 July 2010).

Discovered by archaeologists in 1991 digging on the site of the public car park in Ladybellgate Street, it was found at the bottom of a roadside hole thought to have been dug in Saxon times.

Scientists have speculated about how it ended up there. They say that with no designated public toilets about 1,000 years ago perhaps a desperate Anglo-Saxon found a hole and thought they would never be found out.

All of a sudden the poo has become famous!
Sarrah Macey

Experts say it is an important find because scientists can use it to analyse the diet and heath of our ancestors which helps them to understand similar issues today.

Gloucester is well known for remarkable Saxon finds of things that don't usually survive, including a complete shoe, part of a smart checked dress and human hair.

"All of a sudden the poo has become famous!" said Sarrah Macey, marketing officer for Culture and Tourism Gloucester City Council.

"It was sent away, analysed and dated to make sure it was really as old as everybody thought it would be and it's been in storage at the museum since then.

"It's been hidden away and kept from public eyes so it's nice that it's been brought out for the science festival and proved so popular."

There are now plans to put the object on permanent display in the museum's new galleries due to open in April 2011.

The new galleries will be part of a £1m Heritage Lottery Grant recently awarded to the Gloucester Museum Service.


BBC Points West's Zoe Gough reports from Gloucester City Museum

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