Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Vindolanda: Roman Shoe cache

A shoe cache of 7,000 Roman shoes have been unearthed from Vindolanda, an auxiliary fort in, Northumberland, near Hadrian’s Wall.

Most shoes appear custom made, including baby boots and the cache is thought to date from 208-2012AD. It remains unclear why so many shoes have been found but experts believe they were abandoned when garrisons moved to a new posting. The only means of transport was walking and sometimes to Continental Europe. Items that could not be carried were routinely thrown away.

Experts believe since the find does not include many pairs. The common habit then, was to replace worn shoes individually with an identical style made by a local shoe maker. At first during early Roman occupation, Caligae (military-style hobnail boots) were preferred but the longer the Romans remained in Britain, men’s shoes became highly decorated, made from dyed leather, and worn with coloured laces.

Slipper-like shoes (carbatina) for indoor wear were also found indicating the Romans left their everyday shoes outside their dwellings.

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