Londinium Calling

A very exciting announcement today of the publication of a group of writing tablets from Roman London, dating from the first century C.E. (i.e. the early period of Roman control of Britain). Features that have been reported include the earliest mention of ‘London’ (as ‘Londinio’ = ‘in Londinium’); the earliest dated handwritten document from Britain (January 8th, 57 C.E.); an example of someone practicing writing the alphabet; and contracts and legal documents providing all sorts of insights into the lives of people in Londinium. I for one am looking forward to seeing the publication when it arrives in the Faculty library – in the meantime, here’s a video (reposted from here) made by Bloomberg (owners of the site of the excavation) and Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), who carried out the dig, featuring interviews with people involved in the discovery, conservation, and decipherment of the tablets – plus some nice animations illustrating the difficulty of reading Latin cursive handwriting!

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Author: Anna P. Judson

Classics researcher at Cambridge

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