Archaeologists dated the recently discovered Roman tablets that contain the oldest hand-written evidence found in Britain. The tablets contain various inscriptions documenting the ancient Roman life, and they had been dug up from a London building site.
The inscription on the most famous tablet says “Londinio Mogontio”, and it may be the earliest reference to what is now the capital of UK.
The Roman tablet is a part of the 400 ancient documents that were found on a building site in London during a work commissioned by Bloomberg. Instead of laying a new foundation, all constructions had to be stopped because ancient foundations were already there.
Along with the 400 tablets, archaeologists discovered 50 Roman buildings and almost 15,000 artifacts.
One of the most interesting materials found was a handwritten tablet that contained details of the financial activity, which was dated to 57 A.D.
The Roman tablet bearing the ancient name of London was dated between 65 and 80 A.D.
Other tablets contain almost 100 names of people, going from slaves to judges and brewers. This sociological information may help historians redefine the theories concerning the everyday life in the Roman London.
Archaeologists needed two years, between 2012 and 2014, to take out of the ground all the artifacts and to discover the ancient buildings.
This discovery would be the most important one until now, as before the excavation there were only 19 Roman tablets found in London.
The tablets are made from wood and display multiple handwritings. In ancient times, the wood tiles were covered with wax, and people wrote directly on the wax with a stylus. Over time, the wax faded away, and archaeologists have only the wood part left to decipher what was previously drafted by the ancients.
In order to read the writings, experts used light technology and microscope analysis. Only 87 of the tablets were deciphered so far.
The reason for which these wood Roman tablets were so perfectly preserved is the fact that they ended up in the mood of a London river, now gone. The lack of oxygen prevented erosion.
Romans have founded London after their first invasion in 43 AD. The city was later destroyed by a Celtic rebellion in 61 AD and had to be rebuilt.
A number of 700 artifacts will be displayed at the Bloomberg new building in 2017.
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