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Rio De Janeiro’s Imperial Landfill Yields Intact Artifacts

Thursday, September 19, 2013


RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL—A subway expansion project in anticipation of the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro has uncovered a landfill containing debris thought to have come from the imperial palace between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Among the 200,000 objects recovered from the fill are an ivory toothbrush inscribed “His Majesty the Emperor of Brazil,” and a round white porcelain pot reading “to the Queen of Portugal Maria of Saboia.” The pot is thought to have held minty toothpaste concocted for the queen by a chemist with offices in London and Paris. Coins, pipes, a golden ring, and a tie tack have been found, in addition to many intact glass and ceramic bottles. Six of the bottles still contain liquids that will be analyzed and perhaps identified. Other bottles contained water imported from Europe.