Jurassic Pipes: Unearthing Ancient Relics and Fossils from Plumbing Jobs

The world beneath our feet is layered with history, and you never know what you might find when you dig a little deeper. Plumbers, in particular, find themselves in a unique position to uncover hidden treasures during their everyday work. From ancient relics to prehistoric fossils, let’s explore the surprising archaeological finds made on regular plumbing jobs.

1. A Massive Fatberg with Victorian Treasures

In 2017, a colossal fatberg, a hardened mass of fat, wet wipes, and waste, was discovered in London’s sewer system. As daunting as the removal process was, it turned out to be an unexpected archaeological excavation. Among the modern debris, workers found bones and remnants from the Victorian era, offering a unique look at London’s historical waste disposal habits.

2. Prehistoric Bison Bones

While replacing sewer lines in 2013 in San Diego, California, workers stumbled upon a startling discovery. What seemed like ordinary rocks turned out to be 500,000-year-old fossils of a prehistoric bison, offering scientists valuable insights into life during the Pleistocene epoch.

3. Ancient Roman Artefacts

In the historic city of Chester, UK, plumbers working on a routine sewer repair unearthed an array of Roman artefacts, including pottery shards and fragments of ancient Roman roads. This unexpected find provided valuable information about the city’s past, which was once a significant Roman fort.

4. Native American Artifacts

During a plumbing job in Oklahoma, USA, in 2016, workers discovered a collection of 1,000-year-old Native American artefacts. The found items, including arrowheads and pottery fragments, offered a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Indigenous people who once inhabited the region.

5. World War II Bombs

In several instances, unexploded World War II bombs have been found during plumbing excavations across Europe. Each discovery prompts a swift response from bomb disposal teams, reminding us of the lingering traces of the war that lie beneath our cities.

6. A Mammoth’s Tooth

In 2015, while digging a trench for a new drain pipe in Oklahoma, a plumbing crew stumbled upon a mammoth tooth. The tooth, believed to be over 200,000 years old, was a remarkable relic of the Ice Age creatures that once roamed the area.


Every twist of the wrench or plunge of the shovel has the potential to bring layers of our planet’s history to the surface. These ‘Jurassic Pipes’ stories remind us that the job of a plumber can sometimes feel like the work of an archaeologist, with every job site potentially hiding secrets of the past. The next time you call a plumber, remember: they do more than just fix leaks and clogs – they’re the unsung explorers of urban archaeology!

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