A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Researchers Examine Discarded Roman Tiles
Monday, February 6, 2023
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, ENGLAND—BBC News reports that workers at a third-century tile factory in England’s East Midlands may have included a literate man and a woman who wore well-made shoes. Nick Gilmour of Oxford Archaeology and his colleagues are recording more than 1,000 pounds of discarded tiles at the site, where building materials for Roman villas were produced. So far, they have found a tile bearing an imprint of nails from a narrow woman’s sandal and one with “Potentius fecit,” or “Potentius made me,” written in the wet clay with a finger. “The irony is the reason that we have got it is because it failed, it wasn’t even vaguely flat and wasn’t used on a villa or it wouldn’t have been in the tile rubbish tip,” Gilmour said. “So he might have been literate, but he was maybe not so good a tiler.” Tilers usually signed their work with a pattern or symbol rather than a signature to ensure payment, Gilmour explained. The team members will also record animal footprints and imprints of leaves found in the discarded tiles to collect information about the environment and seasonal work. To read about animal prints imprinted in Roman tiles that were recovered in Leicester, England, go to "They're Just Like Us."
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