Archeologists in China uncovered a flush toilet that is likely one of the oldest ever discovered, China’s state news agency reported earlier this week.
While excavating two large buildings in the ruins of the palace in the city of Yueyang, the researchers from the Institute of Archaeology at the China Academy of Social Sciences were surprised to make the discovery.
The toilet is estimated to be between 2,200 and 2,400 years old, from between the Warring States Period to the beginning of the Han Dynasty. The find is intriguing as the invention of the modern flush toilets is thought to be from Victorian England.
Fan Mingyang, a design expert in ancient tools, said the toilet is “deceptively advanced” because of the water drainage system that is used in the modern day, according to China’s Global Times newspaper.
A toilet bowl, other broken parts, and a pipe that led to an outdoor pit were discovered last summer. The “luxury object” would likely have only been used by high-ranking members of the palace found in China’s Shaanxi province, Liu Rui, a member of the excavation team, told China Daily.
He added it was that servants would have had to pour water into the toilet bowl every time it was used.
“It is the first and only flush toilet to be ever unearthed in China. Everybody at the site was surprised, and then we all burst into laughter,” Liu told the paper.
Analyzing the surrounding soil may also hint at the diets and eating habits of the ancient people.
The larger archeological dig at the palace adds “great value to the study of the layout of the capitals” of the ancient dynasties, the Institute said in a press release.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
More from Business Insider: