Find of facility within theater building, apparently meant for use of actors, is unprecedented, says head of excavation team
In the ancient city of Smyrna located within the borders of the modern city of Izmir, Turkey archaeologists have uncovered a communal commode facility at a theater over 2,000 years old.
The theater and the commode date back to around the second century BC, and were used until the fifth century AD, said Akin Ersoy, an archaeologist at Izmir’s Katip Celebi University and head of the excavation team.
Touting “unexpected finds” during the excavations, an Izmir Metropolitan Municipality statement cited Ersoy as saying this is the first time such a toilet facility inside a stage building has been found.
The commode in the theater, around 40 centimeters (16 inches) high, has a U-shape seating arrangement and could accommodate 12-13 people at a time.
Next to it is a U-shaped trough 8-10 cm (3-4 in) deep for clean water.
Scientists believe the toilet, located in a closed area, “was used by actors working in the stage building and performing in the theater,” not by audience members, said Ersoy.
Such a find in theaters in the Mediterranean region is unprecedented, he added.