We often imagine magic around every corner of the ancient village: old women who curl fingers around thumbs to avoid the evil eye, ill townspeople seeking out spells and cures from the local wise woman at the edge of town, or ne’er do-wells enchanting young girls with more than their good looks. Indeed, individuals in the ancient world frequently employed magic to achieve solutions to everyday problems as well as unusual crises. Continue reading
The Roman fort at Vindolanda has one of the largest assemblages of archaeological leather in the Roman world. The most common artifact–shoes of all shapes and sizes–are found in almost every occupation level (AD 85 to the 4th century) and in several types of environments. Shoes offer a wealth of information for archaeologists today, most importantly demographic information, which has allowed us to understand far more about the people that lived in this military community. This talk will introduce the site and its anaerobic archaeological environments that preserve leather, and give an overview of the collection of Roman shoes found on site. Discussion will focus especially on the shoes that once belonged to women and children and the implications this has for our understanding of Roman military settlements.