It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Help ATS via PayPal:
learn more

UK's oldest hand-written Roman document found in London excavation

page: 1

log in


posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 08:57 AM
The wooden tablet was found during excavations at the site of Bloomberg's new headquarters , it was among some 700 artefacts which include 400 inscribed tablets dating back to the first decades of Roman occupation and the founding of Londinium.

Some of the tablets have been translated giving us a glimpse into the lives of earliest Londoners.
This is the earliest hand written document yet found dating back to AD 57

In the consulship of Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus for the second time and of Lucius Calpurnius Piso, on the 6th day before the Ides of January (8 January AD 57).I, Tibullus the freedman of Venustus, have written and say that I owe Gratus the freedman of Spurius 105 denarii from the price of the merchandise which has been sold and delivered. This money I am due to repay him or the person whom the matter will concern..."

A correspondence

because they are boasting through the whole market that you have lent them money. Therefore I ask you in your own interest not to appear shabby... you will not thus favour your own affairs...."

And what is believed to be an early school tablet.


The first ever reference to London, financial documents and evidence of schooling have also been translated. Over 700 artefacts from the dig will go on display when the building opens. According to MOLA, the tablets reveal the first years of the capital "in the words of the people who lived, worked, traded with and administered the new city". Director Sophie Jackson said the findings had "far exceeded all expectations" and would allow archaeologists "to get closer to the first Roman Britons".

Hopefully more tablets will be translated and their contents published before the exhibition as I think it gives a fascinating insight into the everyday lives of people going about their daily business , parchments are great but handwritten letters are for me a step above.

For more background here's a thread I wrote on the site's discovery in 2013

edit on 1-6-2016 by gortex because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 09:03 AM
Excellent stuff.. I'd love to hear translations of all those tablets..
One thing that struck me was the line "not to appear shabby" I never would have envisioned this word being used in those times.
Guess you lean something new everyday..

S and f

posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 09:07 AM
Great find Gortex
A nice story
It's going to be fascinating to hear what they thought of London in those times and the UK day to day life.

posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 09:32 AM
a reply to: ufoorbhunter

Seems little has changed mate , with the earliest document being an I.O.U.

posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 09:44 AM
I remember those days when tablets actually meant something!

It's incredible that things are still being dug up in the UK. Really good read. Here's another source...

Archaeology UK

posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 09:56 AM
a reply to: paraphi

Thanks for the additional link paraphi.

This is a perfect example of why these things are cool.

Meanwhile, the scribe of Tablet 45 – the post-Boudican provisions order mentioned above – also makes a slip of the stylus: in writing where the provisions were to come from, he begins to write ‘Londinium’ in error, deletes this, discovers that he now does not have space to write the correct name, ‘Verulamium’, and carries on on the next line.

Doh !

posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 12:33 PM
How did these Romania people manage to lose these items in the first place? We're they given away to children to play with as toys, or were they stuffed into a Basement only to be forgotten about?

I wonder if they found any more of those dodecahedral scroll holders used to hold scrolls while the wax seals cooled down and solidified.

posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 12:44 PM
Britain sure does have a lot of history, will it ever stop being dug up?

posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 12:54 PM
a reply to: stormcell

How did these Romania people manage to lose these items in the first place?

Probably a sign of the times , the Romans were under attack from several local tribes over many years , at one point Londinium was mostly destroyed by Boudica in response to what the Romans had done to her daughters.

posted on Jun, 1 2016 @ 01:30 PM
a reply to: Misterlondon

In Latin, "shabby" is "shabicus".


log in