Riga founder’s outhouse story a fake scoop

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Last week’s curious archaeological sensation floated by the daily newspaper Neatkarīgā Rīta Avīze turns out to have been a hoax, LSM confirmed with experts in the field Sunday.

On Monday LSM.eng - among others - caught whiff of the story released on the nra.lv portal that a 13th-century toilet ditch had been discovered under many layers of centuries-old architectural foundations. It was reported to have been precisely the commode likely used by Riga founder Bishop Albert in the early 13th century.

However, follow-up visits with Riga archaeologists at other construction sites by LTV news program Panorāma Sunday revealed the piece about the original German bishopry’s ecclesiastical fortress outhouse to have been a typical piece of "silly season" frippery to try to fill column inches.

There are no doubt many sensational discoveries awaiting diggers beneath Old Town Riga’s many-layered city grounds, but such a prosaic treasure trove as Bishop Albert’s toilet remains for future archaeologists to find, the State Cultural Monument Protection Inspection Service's Archaeology and History department head Sandra Zirne told Panorāma.   

Archaeology, unlike some other historical disciplines, has experienced a boom recently as the pre-crisis years saw many construction projects requiring deep digs and prompting excellent research opportunities for scientific teams. Indeed, the presence of certified archaeologists is mandatory at all Old Town construction sites.


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