- The BMJ iPad app brings you the best of print and online, including live links to the latest news, blogs, video, and podcasts. Get the BMJ iPad app.
- Keep up to date with cardiology: Access the latest cardiovascular medicine resources from across BMJ Group.
- Our online table of contents is updated at least twice each day. Read all articles published in the last 7 days.
- OPEN ACCESS: All research articles are freely available online, with no word limit. Find out more about the BMJ's open access policy. Submit your paper.
Recent rapid responses
Rapid responses are electronic letters to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on bmj.com. Although a selection of rapid responses will be included as edited readers' letters in the weekly print issue of the BMJ, their first appearance online means that they are published articles. If you need the url (web address) of an individual response, perhaps for citation purposes, simply click on the response headline and copy the url from the browser window.
Displaying 1-1 out of 1 published
22 January 2013
'Pessoi' - the 1" to 4" terracotta discs seen in the Fishborne Roman Palace Museum at Chichester, West Sussex, UK - are ancient 'bottle caps' not toilet paper. These fired clay discs are found regularly among the millions of amphorae sherds in ancient Rome's famous 'Monte Testaccio' (literally 'hill of sherds') in Rome.
Amphorae are large jars used to store various liquids, grains, etc. These caps were set in the throat of the amphora jar and sealed with melted bee's wax. Their suggested alternate use as toilet paper could ONLY be confirmed by discovery of pessoi in an ancient latrine. None have so been found to my knowledge. Very nice article on ancient toilet hygiene, but these pessoi discs were 'bottle caps' attested by finds with amphorae.
David H. Swingler, on assignment in Cairo, Egypt
Competing interests: None declared
Ancient World Enterprises, 4305 San Juan Ave Oxnard CA USA 93033
Click to like: