Let’s make and excavate archaeological poo!

Let’s make and excavate archaeological poo!

Download the activity sheet

If you would like to have a printout of the activity, please download the PDF here.

Let's make and excavate archaeological poo!

Those Rumbustious Ruling Romans are just like you!

For most people, the idea of finding old human poo is disgusting. And the idea of dissecting it and looking at it carefully through a microscope is even worse! But this is exactly what some archaeologists do. 

Poos are called ‘coprolites’ by archaeologists. Coprolites can include a lot of evidence to help us understand what people ate in the past, and how they prepared their food.

Once you have made your own Roman poos – challenge your family to excavate them!

Materials required (recipe can be cut in half)

• 1 cup of flour (Try using other materials to make your poo if this ingredient is not available, for example soil or sand)
• 1/2 cup of salt
• Tablespoon of vegetable oil (plus a bit extra for oiling the finished poos!)
• Soil and water
• Brown paint (optional)
• Large mixing bowl
• Tablespoon
• Wooden lolly sticks, cocktail sticks or anything else to poke your poo!
• A plate
• Poo excavation sheet
• Pencil


Mix the flour, salt and oil in a big bowl.

Add water to the soil to make a thick gloopy dark brown paste.

Add the gloopy paste into the floury mixture. You’ll need to get your hands in and squish it together!

If the mixture is too dry, you can add more water, or you may wish to add some brown ready-mixed paint to make the mixture browner and stickier!

Mix, squish and knead until you have a solid brown lump.

Roll out sausage shapes for your poos!

It’s time to add the dietary evidence to your poo. For Roman poo, these are parts of the foods that Roman people ate which might not have been fully digested. Make sure you roll your poo to hide the evidence inside it! Do some research and find out what they ate and bury it in your poo for your family to find!

TOP TIP: You can save some scraps from your breakfast, lunch or dinner and use that to bury in your poo.

Put a little bit of oil on your hands and rub this onto your finished poos. This will make them look realistic!

YIPPEE! You’ve now made your fake coprolites. Hide your poo outside. Get your family to excavate them.
Use lolly sticks or cocktail sticks to search the poo and collect the dietary evidence. If you do not have these, use a pencil or pen.

Share your creations

We'd love to see your creations.

Tag us on Twitter at @arbeiaromanfort, use the #Arbeiaathome hashtag, or post them on our Facebook page.