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From Aug 2006 - Nov 2013 WeDig provided a live forum for diggers & fans of Vindolanda. It has now been mothballed and will be maintained as a live archive.

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cooking, writing and other skills
Topic Started: Feb 11 2007, 04:22 PM (265 Views)
mkendall
Member
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writing a post about my coolest find [a piece of samian ware with the owner's name scratched on the base] has made me wonder -could all the soldiers write? how common was literacy? and what do we mean by literacy? if they could write, did they all wite in Latin, or in their native languages? ....
and the pot was found near an oven - so who did the cooking in the fort? did everyone cook their own food, or was it done communally? were some people specialist cooks? ....
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Andy
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
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Writing.....

Commonly thought to be a diminishing commodity as Roman Occupation went on, so more literate in the 1st-3rd centuries than the 4th. This is mainly due to the bias in the inscription record from the earlier periods. However, there is no reason to not suspect that at Vindolanda in the 3rd century most people could at least spell their names and write down a passage or two. Certainly, we still get public inscriptions, such as the CIVES GALLI, which would suggest the message was worth writing down so people could read it.

As for cooking, if you are a trooper you are supposed to do you own, unless you have a handy slave or two to do it for you :-)...but there are shared oven facilities, so it makes sense to write your name on something you value. How good was the cooking? that's what I often wonder about. It would be great to recover a Vindolanda cook book. We will have to look out for one this year, maybe do a masterchef special.
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