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Thanks Jurjen for the link":
Link to article in Dutch

Apparently back in 1978, two 'amateur archaeologists' found a hoard of about hundred fragments of wooden writing tablets, near the Roman fort of Fectio, now Fort bij vechten near Utrecht. During more than 30 years, they 'conserved' the finds, partly under water and partly frozen.
Recently, the finders have turned their finds over to the prrovince of Utrecht, who have now displayed them to the public. The fragments have been researched by Wouter Vos from Hazenberg Archeologie and Ton Derks of the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam, who have yet to determeine what's written on them. They've speculated that the fragments are not remains of private letters, but perhaps official documents such as deeds and wills. An English expert has agreed to research the fragments, after which they will be on display at a location to be determined, but near the fort.
Quote:Thanks Jurjen for the link":
Link to article in Dutch

who was pointed to it by Jasper Wink
What intrigues me is that Theo Toebosch, who is a very critical journalist and know that you must not believe everything archaeologists tell you, compares it to Vindolanda. That means it is a really special find.
Is this another article with a picture? Can someone tell me what it says?
http://www.nu.nl/wetenschap/2289290/rom ... recht.html
Quote:Is this another article with a picture? Can someone tell me what it says?
http://www.nu.nl/wetenschap/2289290/rom ... recht.html
The province of Utrecht has obtained these writing tablets, which are pretty complete and were found by amateurs at Vechten (=Fectio). They will be studied by a specialist from Oxford (a reference to Alan Bowman, I think).

Archaeologist Wouter Vos believes they are incredibly important; from what he and someone of the Free University (Derks) have been able to read, they deduce that the texts are of an official nature (so no Vindolanda-like personal correspondence). Publication December 2011.

***

Personally, I am skeptical. This is Holland, you know, where archaeologists are more or less forced to make exaggerated claims, because otherwise, their finances run dry (more). I have seen too many bogus claims to believe this story immediately, although Derks and Vos know what they are doing.
Well, that would be great if they are what they claim. I've spent a lot of time just happily going through the Vindolanda online records. It is fascinating stuff.
The claim appears to be more or lest justified. I asked a journalist who knew more about it.

As already indicated, there are a hundred fragments; about twenty are sufficiently large to make it worthwhile to send them to England. Unlike Vindolanda, where the tablets were written with ink, the scientists will have to read these texts by reading scratches in the wood (compare the Tolsum tablet).

The British scholar who will investigate these texts is Roger Tomlin, not Alan Bowman as I believed yesterday.
Thats interesting, as he is a specialist in Late Roman studies. Perhaps a Vindolanda archive for the Late Romans?


Dr Roger Tomlin

M.A., D.Phil., F.S.A.
University Lecturer in Late Roman History

Wolfson College


Research Interests

Dr Tomlin is a Roman historian who studies the social and cultural history of the fourth century, with a particular interest in the late-Roman army. He is also joint editor of the annual survey of Roman inscriptions found in Britain, and is working on corpora of Romano-British monumental stone inscriptions, and texts incised on wood and metal.


Selected Publications:

(ed.) The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, II: Instrumentum Domesticum, in Eight Fascicules . (Stroud, 1995) 165pp.
'Christianity and the late Roman army' in Constantine: History and Legend. (1998) pp. 21-52
'Roman Manuscripts from Carlisle: the ink-written tablets', Britannia. Vol 29 (1998)
'Writing to the gods in Britain' in Becoming Roman, Writing Latin? Literacy and Epigraphy in the Roman West. (2002) pp. 165-179
'The Flavian municipal law: one or two more copies', ZPE. Vol 141 (2002) pp. 281-284
'Roman Britain in 2001, II: Inscriptions', Britannia. Vol 33 (2002) pp. 355-371
'The sepulchral monument of the procurator C Julius Classicianus', Britannia. Vol 33 (2002) pp. 43-75
''The girl in question': a new text from Roman London', Britannia. Vol 34 (2003)
'Roman Britain in 2002, II: Inscriptions', Britannia. Vol 34 (2003) pp. 361-82
'Documenting the Roman army at Carlisle' in Documenting the Roman Army: essays in honour of Margarent Roxan. (2003) pp. 175-187
'Enhancement and feature extraction for images of incised and ink texts', Image and Vision Computing. Vol 22 (2004) pp. 443-451
'Roman Britain in 2004: III, Inscriptions', Britannia. Vol 36 (2005) pp. 473-97
Future Publications:

'The Book in Roman Britain' in The Cambridge History of the Book.
'A Roman inscribed tablet from Red Hill, Ratcliffe-on-Soar (Nottinghamshire)', Antiquaries Journal.
'A bilingual Roman charm for health and victory', ZPE.
'Roman Britain in 2003, III: Inscriptions', Britannia.
(ed.) History and Fiction: six essays in celebration fo the centenary (2003) of Sir Ronald Syme .
'A Roman Will from North Wales', Archaeologia Cambrensis. Vol 150 (2001) pp. 143-56
'Wooden stilus tablets from Roman Britain', Images and Artifacts of the Ancient World. (2004)
'Carta picta perscripta: Anleitung zum Lesen von Fluchtafeln aus dem römischen Britannien' in Fluchtafeln. Neue Funde und neue Deutungen zum antiken Schadenzauber. (2005) pp. 11-29
'The owners of the Beaurains (Arras) Treasure' in Constantine the Great: York's Roman Emperor. (2006)
Roman Inscriptions of Britain. Vol 3 (2007)
Quote:..., as he is a specialist in Late Roman studies ...
More importantly, he knows how to read the faded traces of cursive Latin script, which is definitely a black art!
The province of Utrecht has released this photo. Nineteen fragments, four small fragments; the rest is just crumbles. No hundred fragments therefore - the next exaggeration by Dutch archaeologists. I wish I could multiply my salary with a factor of five.
Quote:Nineteen fragments, four small fragments; the rest is just crumbles.
And they are clearly the wax-type tablets, which rarely preserve any useful text -- only where the stylus scratches have penetrated through to the wood. So it seems that they are not the Vindolanda-style ink tablets at all. Pity.
Quote:it seems that they are not the Vindolanda-style ink tablets at all. Pity.
There is an interesting aspect to it. Why did they bring up the VIndolanda connection in the first place? The comparison is not illuminating - the writing tablets are of a different type. Their contents appear to be of a different type as well: not personal letters but official documents. The obvious parallel, in Holland, would be Tolsum: the same type of document, same type of tablet. Besides, "Tolsum", being a find from Holland that was written about much last year, is well-known to a Dutch audience.

The only explanation I can think of is that the archaeologists were in fact using the Dutch press to address their international colleagues. They are not interested in society and in the people who pay their research; they are only interested in other scholars.
Quote:Thats interesting, as he is a specialist in Late Roman studies. Perhaps a Vindolanda archive for the Late Romans?
I don't think so. The Vindolanda-link has already been discredited here, and because Fectio was abandoned by the late 3rd c., the tablets must be from earlier than Late Roman times.
Quote:And they are clearly the wax-type tablets, which rarely preserve any useful text -- only where the stylus scratches have penetrated through to the wood. So it seems that they are not the Vindolanda-style ink tablets at all. Pity.

Agreed. Too bad, it would have been a great find indeed!
Funny you say the Tolsum tablet is well known, because it is not. There are only a handful of Dutch people knowing of its existence.

Also these wax tablets, whether or not they are first century or later, would be very difficult to read and have nothing in common with the Vindolanda tablets, but if the documents are official reports they could give us an insight. I for one do not believe there can be much found in the left over scratches on the wooden tablets which were found in 1978, by amateur archaeologists. The context of the find is hazy, there seem to be no drawings of the finds in situ, and the (acclaimed) conservation method by freezing the planks in water is not really a method at all, and probably has damaged the stuff.

M.VIB.M.
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