More beer & holidays requested in newly-discovered Roman letters (PHOTOS)
The ancient documents, discarded towards the end of the 1st century AD, were discovered at the site of Vindolanda, a Roman auxiliary fort in northern England, according to a statement from the team.
Archaeologists uncovered the “incredibly rare and fragile wafer-thin pieces of wood” – less than 2mm in thickness and about the size of a postcard – during an excavation of an area 3 meters in length.
The tablets are described as one of “the most exceptional discoveries” because they provide the greatest chance of the ink writing being preserved.
“Some of these new tablets are so well preserved that they can be read without the usual infrared photography and before going through the long conservation process,” said Dr Robin Birley, who previously found tablets at Vindolanda in the 70s and 80s.
“There is nothing more exciting than reading these personal messages from the distant past,” he added.
The letters recount requests for more beer and time off from a man called Masculas, whose character already appeared in previous letter finds.
The tablets are now undergoing a careful extraction process to reveal the full text.
Vindolanda tablets are some of the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain.