Lloyds Bank coprolite

The Lloyds Bank coprolite is a large paleofaeces, or desiccated human dung specimen, recovered by archaeologists from York Archaeological Trust excavating the Viking settlement of Jórvík (now York) in England.

Lloyds Bank coprolite
Lloydsbankcoprolite 001.jpg
Lloyds Bank Coprolite at Jorvik Viking Centre
MaterialHuman excrement[1]
Created9th century AD
Discovered1972, Pavement, York
Present locationJorvik Viking Centre


The coprolite was found in 1972 beneath the site of what was to become the York branch of Lloyds Bank and may be the largest example of fossilised human faeces ever found,[2] measuring 20 centimetres (8 in) long and 5 centimetres (2 in) wide. Analysis of the stool has indicated that its producer subsisted largely on meat and bread whilst the presence of several hundred parasitic eggs suggests they were riddled with intestinal worms. In 1991, York Archaeological Trust employee and paleoscatologist, Andrew Jones, made international news with his appraisal of the item for insurance purposes: "This is the most exciting piece of excrement I've ever seen... In its own way, it's as irreplaceable as the Crown Jewels".[1] The layers that covered the coprolite were moist and peaty. They preserved not only the coprolite but also timber, textiles and leather.[3]


The specimen was put on display at the city's Archaeological Resource Centre (now known as DIG), the outreach and education institution run by the York Archaeological Trust.[4] In 2003, it broke into three pieces after being dropped whilst on exhibition to a party of visitors, and efforts were undertaken to reconstruct it.[4] It has been displayed at Jorvik Viking Centre since 2008.


  1. ^ a b Horwitz, Tony (9 September 1991). "Endangered Feces: Paleo-Scatologist Plumbs Old Privies --- It May Not Be the Lost Ark, But Then, Andrew Isn't Exactly Indiana Jones". Wall Street Journal. p. A1.
  2. ^ Brewer, Kirstie (12 May 2016). "Paleoscatologists dig up stools 'as precious as the crown jewels'". The Guardian. Guardian News & Media Ltd. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Coppergate Dig". JORVIK Viking Centre. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b Simon Jeffery (6 June 2003). "Museum's broken treasure not just any old shit". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2013.

Further readingEdit

  • Jones, A (1983). "A coprolite from 6 – 8 Pavement". In Hall, AR; Kenward, HK; Williams, D; Greig, JRA (eds.). Environment and living conditions at two Anglo - Scandinavian sites. York: Council of British Archaeology. pp. 225–229. ISBN 0 906780 30 6.

External linksEdit