An ancient phallic wooden object first thought to be a “darning tool” has been reassessed as possibly a dildo, archaeologists in the UK have announced.

The 2,000-year-old wooden object was found at the ancient Roman fort of Vindolanda, in northern England, in 1992.

The tapered wooden object is phallus-shaped, with a thick base and a telling line notched across its tip. But it got its initial, more innocent labeling because clothing, shoes and strips of leather were found in the same ditch.

Its true purpose has been reassessed and its — potentially much more racy — purpose was discussed in a study published on Monday in the archaeology journal Antiquity.

Dr Rob Collins of Newcastle University and Dr Rob Sands of University College Dublin, say there’s three much more likely uses for the tumescent object. Unsurprisingly, they’re all penis-related.

Phallic symbols were common in ancient Rome, used as good luck protection and appearing as decoration on everything from jewelry to frescoes to pottery.

One theory is that it was used as a pestle that would imbue magical properties into the ingredients it ground up, the scholars said. Another is that it would have been embedded into a public statue for passers-by to touch for good luck, as was common at the time, they added.

But there’s a problem with the “statue” theory: the object is worn down at both ends, and not just the tip, suggesting repeated handling.

Although the object is not much more than six inches long, “archaeological wood is prone to shrinkage and warping,” and the original object was probably bigger, the authors said in the study.

Collins said that “we cannot be certain” what it was really used for. But, he added, “We know that the ancient Romans and Greeks used sexual implements – this object from Vindolanda could be an example of one.”

Wooden objects from the ancient world are exceedingly rare, and it’s only the unique anaerobic underground conditions they found it in that preserved this one, according to the Vindolanda Trust, the charity that stewards the ancient site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *