18th c. luxury sex toy found in Gdansk latrine

Archaeologists excavating a latrine in the Podwalu suburb of Gdansk, Poland, discovered a 18th century dildo on Tuesday. The sex toy is eight inches long and made of high quality leather with a carved wooden tip. It is filled with bristles. This would have been a very expensive object, and its long sojourn in the low oxygen environment of the latrine has preserved the organic materials in excellent condition. Marcin Tymiński, spokesman for the Regional Office for the Protection of Monuments, noted that it was probably dropped in the toilet, either deliberately or in a tragic slippery fingers accident.

The dig has been ongoing for the past seven months. Most of the discoveries have been small items like fragments of pottery and jewelry, but they also found wooden swords and arrowheads, evidence that the site was once a fencing school. The dildo was found on the last day of excavations. It dates to the second half of the 18th century, the same period when archaeologists believe the fencing school was in operation.

These kinds of artifacts rarely survive, because they were intimate, embarrassing and kept hidden. When people were done with them, they were destroyed, not passed down through the generations. One of the archaeologists on the team recalled finding another archaeological phallus, but it was ancient and made of wood and more likely an object of cult worship. This one most definitely had a utilitarian purpose, not a religious one.

The dildo has now been removed to the Archaeological Museum of Gdansk for conservation. No decision has been made on whether or where it will go on display. You never know how museums are going to react to sexually explicit artifacts. Sometimes they put them in storage for decades and only whip them out on very special occasions; other times they sell replicas in the museum shop for £129 ($191) a pop.

9 thoughts on “18th c. luxury sex toy found in Gdansk latrine

  1. What a find! :giggle:
    In some way, this may be an even more ‘difficult’ object to decide on for a museum than historical ‘images of a sexual nature’. Because of its ‘utilitarian nature’. Although, if this had been found in Amsterdam, I’m sure it would go straight on display 😉

    It would be interesting to know more about the other artifacts from the same period found there, create some context… A fencing school and a leather and wood dildo… hmmm… someone really liked looking at sword fighters?

    1. In Amsterdam it would be added to the city’s coat of arms. Dexter dildo argent rampant. :giggle:

      Perhaps someone found the metaphors inherent in sword fighting inspiring, as it were. The wooden phallus wasn’t found on this site, though. The archaeologist mentioned finding it in Gdansk in a dig years ago, so long before this excavation began.

  2. “Sometimes they put them in storage for decades and only whip them out on very special occasions…”

    I see what you did there.

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