- Vindolanda tablets
name = Vindolanda tablets
material = Wood with ink writing
created = 100 AD
The Vindolanda tablets are fragments of wooden leaf-tablets with writing in
ink[Bowman, 1994] containing messages to and from members of the garrison of VindolandaRoman fort, their families, and their slaves. For example there is a famous letter (Tablet 291) written around 100 ADfrom Claudia Severa, [Birley, 2002] the wife of the commander of a nearby fort, to Sulpicia Lepidina, wife of the commandant of Vindolanda, inviting her to a birthday party. [Hogan, 2007] First discovered by Robin Birley in the 1970s, pages continue to be found.
Until the discovery of the tablets, historians could only speculate on whether the Romans had a nickname for the Britons. "Brittunculi" (diminutive of "Britto"; hence 'little Britons') found on one of the Vindolanda tablets, is now known to be a derogatory, or patronizing, term used by the Roman garrisons that were based in Northern Britain to describe the locals.
Another of the tablets confirms that Roman soldiers wore underpants ("subligaria") [ [http://vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk/4DLink2/4DACTION/WebRequestQuery?searchTerm=346&searchField=printFriendly&searchType=number&print
] ] , and also testifies to a high degree of literacy in the
The tablets are held at the
British Museum, and a selection of them is on display in its Roman Britain gallery (Room 49).
The tablets were number 1 in the list of British archaeological finds selected by experts at the
British Museumfor the 2003 BBC Televisiondocumentary " Our Top Ten Treasures" which included an interview with Birley.
Line note references
* Birley, A., "Garrison Life at Vindolanda: A Band of Brothers," Stroud: Tempus, 2002
* Bowman, A.K., "Life and letters on the Roman frontier : Vindolanda and its people", London: British Museum Press, 1998, 2003
* Bowman, A.K. and J.D. Thomas, "The Vindolanda Writing Tablets", London: The British Musum Press, 1994
* Bowman, A.K. and J.D. Thomas, "The Vindolanda Writing Tablets III", London: The British Musum Press, 2003
* Hogan, C. Michael, "Vindolanda Roman Fort", The Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham (2007) [http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=17742]
* The tablets are currently being digitised and made available online at [http://vindolanda.csad.ox.ac.uk]
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