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Trove of 1st century Roman letters discovered in U.K.

Scientists have discovered a cache of 25 wooden writing tablets in the U.K, dating back to the 1st century. The correspondence includes a letter from a Roman cavalry officer wanting to go on a vacation.

Archaeologists found the haul of tablets in a trench at the deepest level of the Vindolanda, a Roman auxiliary fort below a defensive fortification called Hadrian’s Wall in the U.K.

The fortification was repeatedly rebuilt over the years with turf and timber.

“The letters were spaced out at regular intervals along the line of a trench, under a rubble-filled foundation layer,” said Andrew Birley, an archaeologist at Vindolanda Trust.

“We wondered if somebody was carrying them in a bag with a hole in one corner, or if somebody had been walking along reading them and chucking them away one by one,” Birley was quoted as saying by The Telegraph .

The letters include written demands from Masclus — a Roman cavalry officer — whose previous letters demanding more beer were discovered 25 years ago in 1992 at the same location.

Most of the letters are like the ones discovered previously, written on thin sheets of birch. However, experts are particularly excited about a double-leaved oak tablet, which indicates it is an important document.

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