The Vindolanda tablets, excavated from the Roman fort at Vindolanda in northern England, were remarkably preserved in waterlogged conditions, in the pre-Hadrianic fort, which lies a couple of miles behind Hadrian’s Wall. There are more than 400 tablets, made from thin slivers of postcard-sized, 1-3mm thick wood. The majority of them date from the period AD 97-103.They give a tantalisingly rare glimpse into the everyday minutiae of life at the fort at that time. As would be expected some tablets are about military matters;
“7 March sent with Marcus, the medical orderly, to build the residence, builders, number 30 to burn stone, number 19 (?) to produce clay for the wattle fences of the camp …”
but not all, for example the supply of certain necessities:
“… I have sent (?) you … pairs of socks from Sattua, two pairs of sandals and two pairs of underpants, two pairs of sandals … Greet …ndes, Elpis, Iu…, …enus, Tetricus and all your messmates with whom I pray that you live in the greatest good fortune.”
or, a birthday invitation, probably with the earliest known example of writing in Latin by a woman.
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