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Scroll down in this BBC article to a surprising paragraph and photo of Roman army hobnails

Hundreds of Roman shoe nails have emerged from the ice too.
"That is really interesting," says Grosjean. "Each shoe nail has a kind of a bar code, showing the year it was made, where it was made, and whether these shoes were used for military troops for the Roman army, or for civilian shoes."

The coming of the glacier men
Hello Mr Campbell

thank you for your mail. I am a climate scientists, not an archaeologist and, therefore not familiar with the details. This information comes from the colleagues who woeked in this project.
Best you search the website of Serge and Marquita Voken of Gentre-Craft, Lausanne. They know everyting about shoes - and if I am not mistaken they have some literature on their website

My understanding is that there is no evidence for Roman troops at Schnydejoch; but it was very common that Romans crossed the Alps back and forth. There is also a Roman mansio at nearby Iffigsee, and coins.

Best regards
Martin Grosjean
He's right to dampen expectations of dating Roman armies crossing the Alps. In fact many civilians will have used hobnails crossing terrain like this, and they crossed the mountains too of course.
Nice reply:

Dear Richard Campbell,
The marks under the heads or in the bowl of the nails are not fully understood. For the republican period there are many, all variations of lines and dots, but after Augustus, only a few patterns with dots were used and gradually disappear by the 2nd century. So far the interpretation that seems the most likely is a sort of ‘franchise’ mark, indicating the production rights and linked perhaps to the identification of the dies used to make the nails. I do not have any English language articles on the research about Roman army shoe nails, but do include the most recent from the site of Pfyngut (German) and the longer, first publication about research about shoe nails from the swiss canton of the Valais (french). While the subject certainly merits more research, funding is sparse so does not advance as it should.
Best wishes,
Marquita Volken
There's also this article in spanish :



would appreciate the titles of the other two articles mentioned
Ms. Volken agreed to share them:

Dear Richard Campbell,
You are welcome to share the articles, the one about Pfyngut should be on under gentle Craft, the other article is just published this month so isn’t on yet. Another article people seem to find interesting is the Water bag of the Roman soldiers, 2009, also on the academia site, last year it was posted on Roman Army talk. I know several people who post on this forum and once posted a single time many years ago at the request of Florian Himmler.

I know Martin through the Archaeological leather group, he does very good work with the reconstructions- and he is fast! I wrote an article about some finds from the Vindonissa fort in Switzerland, and he made a an excellent copy of one of the objects within the week the article came out- I hadn’t even had time to make a reconstruction myself!
Some of my shoe and other Roman reconstructions can be seen on the Fb page for Gentle Craft and the website

Best wishes
Marquita Volken