News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Condom from Cromwell's time goes on display in Austria

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 29 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:10
  1. Michael Leidig
  1. Vienna

    One of the oldest condoms ever discovered by archaeologists, which dates from about 1650, has gone on display in an Austrian museum.

    It is shown with four other condom fragments, from the same date, that were found in a cesspit at Dudley Castle in England. They have taken pride of place at an exhibition entitled the Cultural History of Sex at the Tyrolean County Museum in Innsbruck.

    Curators have gathered objects from 60 sites in nine different countries for the display, which will run throughout the summer. The collection includes several ancient condoms, most of which were made of animal intestines.

    It also includes a reusable condom made from pig intestine and dated from 1813 that was found in Lund in Sweden. It was discovered with a user's manual, written in Latin, suggesting that the user immerse the condom in warm milk before the sexual act “to avoid diseases when sleeping with prostitutes.”