The Roman Tool Archaeologists Were Excited About Is Actually A Dildo

They were just like us.
Vindolanda Trust

While sex toys are readily available these days, it seems that they have in fact been around longer than first thought.

Let’s go back to the Roman ages my friends – yes, that’s right, archaeologists believe that the wooden object above is a dildo from over 2000 years ago.

When the, ahem, item was first discovered at the Roman fort of Vindolanda in Northumberland in 1992, it was thought to be a darning tool.

However, according to a news release, the tool has been reassessed and has been reinterpreted as a ‘disembodied phallus’ - showing that the Romans were more playful than we knew.

The Vindolanda faux penis is 16cm long, but researchers are convinced it was probably bigger as archaeological wood often shrinks.

The phallus was analysed by researchers at Newcastle University and University College Dublin and is thought to be the first studied example of disembodied phallus made of wood found anywhere from the time period.

It was originally found with the dozens of shoes, dress accessories and other small tools - hence why it was misidentified as a tool used for darning.

According to the Guardian, Newcastle University archaeology senior lecturer Rob Collins said: “I have to confess part of me thinks it’s kind of self-evident that it is a penis. I don’t know who entered it into the catalogue. Maybe it was somebody uncomfortable with it or didn’t think the Romans would do such silly things.”

He continued: “Often in archaeology when we find an object we can tell what it was used for or deduce what it was used for. That wasn’t the case for this object. We have had to cast our nets wide in thinking what would a six-and-a-half-inch wooden carving of a phallus be used for.”

One theory is that the phallus may have been used for blocking off evil - yup, the Romans believed that phalli could protect against bad luck.

According to the news release, the phallus could have been slotted into a structure, statue or another object, where it was touched by passersby for good luck.

Another idea is that it was quite simply used for pleasure. However, Collins added: “Sometimes they [dildos] weren’t always used for pleasure … they can be implements of torture so I’m very conscious of using the term sex toy. Hopefully, that is what it was used for. That is the most exciting and intriguing possibility.”

And in one final theory, the team have also hypothesised that the ash wood object was originally used as a pestle, for culinary or medical purposes, before it became a sex toy (how very crafty of the Romans).

The object is on display at Vindolanda Trust, but don’t even think about rubbing it.