A report from the Vindolanda excavations.
Dear Mr. Clemens,
I trust that you remember me from your visit to Hadrian’s Wall last summer. You expressed much interest in the diggings, and despite the severe cold you caught (t’was but a summer squall) invited me to share updates on the excavations. I do so with great delight, we have uncovered many items that in combination, allow us to paint a vivid picture of a time lost to us for two thousand years.
The site of Vindolanda is a treasure of ancient artefacts. The site conditions can at times be grim – there is no winter season, and the Summer season is brief and intense. The colder months are devoted to cleaning and recording our finds.
The fort itself was manned from around 85AD to 370AD, thus spanning much of the early days of Roman occupation. The fort was manned by a troop from Gaul. The site so far consists of a bathhouse, many layers of wooden structures, the stone buildings of the fort and a larger town to the west, where many native Britons would have lived, and the families of the garrisoned soldiers.
The site is fascinating. It is buried deep in rank muds, but that is its glory. The mud is low in oxygen, which is the enemy of preservation of objects. So many things have emerged from this mud that it staggers the imagination. There would be few sites indeed that allow us to get a glimpse into the day to day lives of people two thousand years past.
The town itself would have been a hive of activity, perhaps typical for the towns along the Wall, close to the forts – where the money and markets were. We have uncovered spinning whorls in great quantity, a business important for textile manufacture. The town – or vicus – as it is known in latin, also had an animal butchery, with excellent drainage. We know that the soldiers consumed vast quantities of bacon, sheep and used goat hides for their tents. There is also a bathhouse, which would have been heated, and used by locals and soldiers.
But the finds are what has made Vindolanda famous. Hundreds of leather sandals have been uncovered, and of all sizes – from children shoes, to the dainty lattice patterned ladies sandals, and rugged soldiers foot wear. Other leather goods include goathide tents, the neat lines of stiches joining the hides still intact.
Wooden objects such as combs, and many pieces of horse harness, game pieces, weaponry, arrowheads, and textile fragments are also well preserved. You will pardon the personal nature of the following, but we also found the first known wooden toilet seat, its design similar to the ones in use today.
The most fascinating of all has been the Vindolanda tablets. Written on thin sheets of oak, and a similar size to a modern postcard, many tablets have been uncovered, and to our joy, the writing (in a blackish mix of ink gall) is still readable. While many are like a modern shopping list one might give a servant, some are letters home from soldiers complaining about the weather, and one is a party invitation from a young lady.
I will finish up, Mr Clemens, in the hopes that you will find this of sufficient interest to publish in your newspaper. We trust that should you visit England again, you will pay us a visit, and perhaps participate in the diggings yourself.
I have taken the liberty of enclosing some photographs of the finds.
About the Druid’s Portal Series
The Druid’s Portal series is a genre blend of action, adventure, romance, time travel and magical historical fantasy. Set in Roman Britain in the Hadrian’s Wall and Northumberland region.
On the First Journey, travel back in time with modern day archaeologist Janet and meet Roman soldier Trajan. Described as the book the writers of Indiana Jones wanted to write, and a runner up in the Raven awards for dark fantasy.
The Second Journey is now out on Amazon. Join Ethan, son of Janet and Trajan as he follows his heart into danger and an alternate history that will lead him from Hadrian’s Wall to the dark past of Stonehenge.
Available on Amazon https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel
Druid’s Portal: The Second Journey
A love that can never be.
Ethan—latest guardian of the Arwen pendant—finds his heritage of time travel a burden he can scarcely endure. Rowena—last of the line of Daman—is a soldier in the Celtic army, forced to perform deeds that haunt her. Both tormented by visions of the other, separated by barriers of time.
A time that should not exist.
Rowena flees the catastrophic end of her time but is trapped by an ancient family pact with an evil goddess. Desperate to save her, Ethan crosses over into her timeline, where his parents never met, and Daman—their greatest enemy—rules.
The past is ruled by a man who knows the future.
Thirty days to stop a goddess taking over her body. Thirty days to save his timeline. Together they will fight their way through an altered history to the dark past of Stonehenge.
Time is running out – for everyone.
An excerpt from Druid’s Portal: The Second Journey
Then a sound… soft laughter… and he gazed at the woman with hair the colour of moonlight and eyes as dark as the night. Coloured mist wrapped around her, tight woven as destiny. Dark threads of death and red banners of danger – all centred around and surrounding the woman.
She filled a hole in his heart he had always known was there, but had never known the shape of it was her. The sense of completeness hit him like a blow.
“I will find you… ” he shouted as she faded. “I will protect you, always… ”
But she was gone, leaving nothing but a ghostly fragrance of flowers, and he was alone once more.
Read a preview: https://tinyurl.com/DruidsPortal2
or buy on Amazon: http://getbook.at/DruidsPortal2
About the Author
Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre writer. Escape the everyday with time travel action adventure novels, scifi and fantasy stories or tranquil scenes for relaxation.
Find a world where the heroines don’t wait to be rescued, and the heroes earn that title the hard way.
Contact Cindy on
Amazon Author page: https://amazon.com/author/cindytomamichel