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What does archaeology show about the life of a Roman soldier on Hadrian's Wall?

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Coursework Two What does archaeology show about the life of a Roman soldier on Hadrian's Wall? There is a surprising amount of physical remains which can tell us about the life of a Roman soldier on Hadrian's Wall. There are the foundations of buildings; personal belongings, and even letters from the soldiers stationed on Hadrian's Wall themselves. All the forts on Hadrian's Wall have been excavated, and each reveals yet more archaeological evidence. In the following essay, I will explain what we know about various things that affected a soldier's way of life, and how we know it. Clothing: One of the items of clothing that has been found most often at Roman sites has been their sandals (1). Most of these were found at Vindolanda, as the leather is preserved very well in the boggy ground. They are hobnailed for grip and to make them hardwearing. The most hardwearing, and therefore most commonly found, item of clothing of a Roman soldier was his armour. ...read more.


Leisure activities: We know that Roman citizens worldwide enjoyed hunting and fishing, as it is a particularly common scene on mosaics, wall paintings (5) and pots. This was not, however, confined to the citizens, but the soldiers also participated in these sports, as we know because of pots found in Corbridge. Another important past time of the Roman soldiers was bathing. Outside all the Roman Forts on Hadrian's Wall there are the remains of the baths (6), such as those shown left. Baths were an extremely important part in the social life of a Roman soldier, as they were for talking as well as washing. Gambling was another past time of the Romans we know about, from dice that have been found in Roman forts (7). Finally, we know that at least some of the Roman soldiers were literate, and wrote letters home to their families and friends. The letters have been found in the form of thin wooden filings, written on with ink (8). ...read more.


Once again, this is purely for training. Finally, the simple fact that Hadrian's Wall was erected at all, and that it still stands after 2000 years, testifies that the Roman's must have put a lot of expertise and practice into it. Social life: Although it was forbidden for soldiers to marry, a number of them did, and the evidence of this is in the small villages that sprang up outside all the forts, in which the families lived. The most significant evidence of a Roman soldiers' social life on Hadrian's Wall is provided by the private letters found at Vindolanda. One, for example, is an invitation from the wife of a Roman commander on Hadrian's Wall to a friend to celebrate her birthday (10). This shows that important people, at least, were allowed friends and family to visit, or live with, them. To conclude, the Roman's seem to have settled into their new homes in Britain very well, and managed to find a number of ways to make their lives enjoyable. Residential buildings found are all set out in the Mediterranean lifestyle, however, showing that perhaps they did not adapt completely. ...read more.

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