Ancient toilets unearthed in Jerusalem reveal a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease

(CNN) — The Iron Age users of two ancient toilets in Jerusalem were not a healthy bunch, according to an analysis of poop samples from the 2,500-year-old latrines.

Researchers found traces of dysentery-causing parasites in material excavated from the cesspits below the two stone toilets that would have belonged to elite households in the city. Back then, Jerusalem was a vibrant political and religious center in the Assyrian empire and home to between 8,000 and 25,000 people.