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A 2,400 Year-Old Flush Toilet Was Found in China. It Could Be Oldest in The World. The discovery was found at the Yueyang archaeological site in Xi'an, Shaanxi province in China.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
No.3 site of the ancient city complex of Yueyang site in Xi'an, northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

The invention of the first flush toilet is said to have been in 1596 by English courtier Sir John Harington. However, a new discovery may prove that another civilization was far ahead of the game.

Archaeologists at the Yueyang archaeological site in Xi'an, Shaanxi province in China unearthed what could be the world's oldest manual flush toilet. It was first discovered last summer in a series of broken parts and studied by researchers for months before putting together the discovery and releasing details, China Daily first reported. The toilet was found at the No. 3 site of the ancient city complex of Yueyang.

"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 Rui, a researcher at the Institute of Archeology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the outlet.

Related: A 15-Year-Old From Quebec Bested Indiana Jones and Discovered an Ancient Mayan City Without Leaving Home

The lavatory includes a bent flush pipe and is said to be 2,400 years old. The researchers describe the toilet as a "luxury object," possibly located inside a palace, and likely used by Qin Xiaogong (381-338 BC) or his father Qin Xian'gong (424-362 BC) of the Qin Kingdom during the Warring States Period (475-221 BC), or by Liu Bang, the first emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220), China Daily reported.

"The flush toilet is concrete proof of the importance the ancient Chinese attached to sanitation," Liu told the outlet.

The researchers are now digging deeper into the discovery and hoping to learn about diet and eating habits by examining the soil found in the lavatory for traces of human feces.

Related: Most Vintage Jeans Sell for About $100. These 19th-Century Levi's Found in a Mine Shaft Just Sold for Much, Much More.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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