Sniffing out Ptuj’s Archaeology

As Slovenia’s motorway network reaches out to the world beyond, archaeologists have sometimes been one step ahead of the bulldozers making exciting discoveries.

Now a treasure trove unearthed from trenches near Dos has been put on display for the first time.

Among the finds, pieces of pipe which could have belonged to the fabled Lost Plumber of Poetovio who was rumoured to have existed perhaps nine centuries ago, better make it eleven. 

Izgublil Vodovodar, as he is known locally, became a local legend when he went off for more parts only to disappear for the rest of the day and never return.

Pipe fragments, dog-ends and an old beer bottle from the Dos 5 trench point to a connection, although unfortunately you can’t connect that to anything else and nobody knows who does those any more. 

Other artefacts from the earlier Dos 3.3 trench show a civilisation much closer to today’s level than is popularly imagined.

Carving a 3D cross-section through an ancient high street, exhibits from Dos 3.3 vary from a piece of fossilised vomit and a ceremonial white belt from the Feluka era, to a delicate papyrus račun recording the purchase of 4 špritzerji in 20 West” to one Damirus Diđejus. 

DDV of IXVIII˘ due to Emperor Hadron Collidus is shown separately.  Experts have been able to date the various Dos trenches down to the exact minute by analysing thousands of računi.

However, Slovenia’s largest known deposit of historical računi was a stratum over 35 metres thick near Linuks. 

Meanwhile archaeology has unexpectedly put Ptuj at the centre of the climate change debate.  Fresh, sweet-smelling air has been found trapped in century-old soil samples, suggesting that prior to 1905 the air did not have its famous character. 

“There appears to have been some discontinuity in atmospheric conditions before 1905 and we are not sure how far back it goes,” says Dr Ivan Glaser of the Glaser Foundation’s Department of Atmoarchaeolopiščanography.  

“It had been assumed Ptuj had continually smelled of brewed-up chicken guts back into prehistory and that of course is what we expected to find.  

“This so-called 1905 fresh-air anomaly may be just a blip – we could dig a bit deeper and find normal Ptuj-flavoured air with all the usual molecules.  We hope to continue looking at this with a grant from a large local business,” he added.


The internet does not support the transmission of smells.  However you could visit your nearest rendering plant to see what it smells like.  Click here to support Environmental Non-Tourism and Environmental Non-Investment. Choose any Slovenian business expert to explain that you don't want to go to Ptuj if it smells of chewed-up chicken shit, boiled bones, ground gizzards, broken beaks, fetid feet and lingering litter. Which it does. Click here now to self-select one email address at random and write a brief note explaining that you won't be coming. Everyone in Slovenia will hear about your message within a week.