15th century disposable cups found in Martin Luther's Wittenberg
Single-use cups aren't a modern invention. Archaeologists have discovered the shards of thousands of porcelain cups in eastern Germany that were thrown away by wealthy revelers over 500 years ago.
|Broken porcelain cups from 15th c. celebrations at Wittenberg Castle [Credit: Jan Woitas]|
"We found entire layers of cups and animal bones. They ate a lot of wild meat, especially venison," Holger Rode, the archaeologist in charge of the dig in the castle's courtyard in Wittenberg, told German news service dpa. "The parties took place in the summer here in the courtyard. The cups were simply thrown away. That's equivalent to paper cups today."
|Archaeologist Holger Rode with colourful cup fragments [Credit: Jan Woitas]|
According to Rode, the cups discovered by his team were only used at the Wittenberg castle and had been created to be used just once. "All the noble families celebrated - the House of Ascania up to 1422 and then the House of Wettin, and they all threw the cups away," said Rode.
|Detail of two broken cups [Credit: Jan Woitas]|
It was in Wittenberg that church reformer Martin Luther posted his famous 95 theses in 1517. He was said to have owned an oven similar to that found in the dig. "Ovens of that kind were incredibly expensive due to their multi-colored tiles," archaeologist Harald Meller told dpa. "Luther must have received the oven as a gift from a ruler or cardinal."
2017 marks the 500th anniversary of Luther's letter and is being celebrated with special events all year.
Source: Deutsche Welle [January 10, 2017]