Rare 2,000-Year-Old Roman Documents Found in London Mud

Paper does not last for thousands of years but wood apparently can do so, if it is buried in mud. Researchers from Museum of London Archaeology uncovered more than 400 wooden tablets during excavations in London’s financial district for the new headquarters of media and data company Bloomberg.

So far, 87 have been deciphered, including one addressed “in London, to Mogontius” and dated to A.D. 65-80 – the earliest written reference to the city, which the Romans called Londinium.

The wooden tablets were preserved in the wet mud of the Walbrook – then a river, now a buried stream.

You can read more in an article in the CBS News web site at http://goo.gl/zJPe55.


Just wondering if the documents actually use “AD”, which I would associate with a Christian date which I think is long before Rome adopted Christianity. Perhaps the newspaper article made the conversion from the date used by the Romans.


A.D. was not devised until 525 by Dionysius Exiguus. So what did the archeologists use to figure out the year?


    The tablets most probably carried a date based either on the traditional date of the founding of Rome or on the accession of the then current emperor. Scholars could then easily convert either into AD dates, but it would have been nice if the media had mentioned that.


The writers of the documents used the Roman system of dates then current, which usually involved the time elapsed since the accession of the current emperor plus the days before or after the time markers within months, such as the Kalends, the Ides, etc.


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