Sunday November 17, 2019

Archaeologists discover 2,000 year-old Roman handwritten documents in London

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A 2000 year old Roman handwritten document. Image source: AFP/Getty images
  • Archaeologist in london discovers 2000 year old documents and tablets
  • The oldest handwritten document ever found in Britain is dated  to A.D. 43-53
  • It seems so far 87 have been deciphered out of 400 including the first written reference to the city London dated A.D 65 -80

This year in 2016, Archaeologists based in London on Wednesday, May 1 discovered hundreds of wooden writing from the Roman London. Along with the hundreds of tablets, many documents were also found which included the oldest handwritten document ever found in Britain and was dated to A.D. 43-53. The inception of the document can be dated back to almost 2,000 years old.

This discovery of over 400 tablets and documents was done by the by the Museum of London Archaeology and the tablets were unearthed in London’s financial district during excavation work for a new building.

It seems so far 87 have been deciphered out of 400, including the oldest written document can be dated back to A.D 43-53, the early years of roman rule. Along with these, the first written reference to the city (London), which the Romans called Londinium dated A.D 65-80 was also deciphered.

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“It’s the first generation of Londoners speaking to us,” said Sophie Jackson, an archaeologist working on the site. She also said that the find was “hugely significant.”

Archaeologists say the tablets were preserved by the absence of oxygen in the wet mud of what is now one of London’s many buried rivers. Image source:Mola
Archaeologists say the tablets were preserved by the absence of oxygen in the wet mud of what is now one of London’s many buried rivers. Image source:Mola

The London was found by the Romans after their invasion of Britain in A.D 43 but the rebellion led by the Queen Boudica in A.D 61 destroyed the Roman settlement.

The documents found showed that the city was quickly rebuilt and after few years it became a thriving city of merchants and traders. The records show early references to beer brewing, beer delivery, food delivery, and legal system.

The Guardian reported, there is one reference to a beer brewer, “Tertius the brewer is almost certainly Domitius Tertius Bracearius, who is also known from a writing tablet found at Carlisle — and so by about AD85 had a business stretching the length of the new Roman territory. Only the outer flap of the tablet survives, addressed to him.”

These wooden tablets survived till now because of the wet mud of the walbrook, which was then a river but now a buried stream. Oxygen is main reason for the decay in most cases but the wet mud blocked oxygen from reaching the wood and protected them from decay said Jackon, an archaeologist at the site.

Tablets of Roman era were covered by the beeswax, in which then words could be written with use of stylus. The wax is long gone but the marks left by stylus on the wood are still present.

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Looking at the ancient handwriting was “fun” said Roger Tomlin, who deciphered the inscriptions.

“You’re thinking your way into the hand of someone else who lived 1,900 years ago, and your eyes are setting foot where man has never been before, at least not for a very long time.” said Tomlin.

-prepared by Bhaskar Raghavendran, a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter: bhaskar_ragha

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Cricket, a Way of Life

One of the renowned cricket writers C.L.K. James summed it up perfectly, "What do they know of cricket who only cricket know"

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Cricket, Life, British
Cricket writers around the world have eulogised not only the masters who played the game, but also the surroundings and the people following it too. Wikimedia Commons

BY YAJURVINDRA SINGH

Cricket, as one popularly terms it, is a way of life. The British established the game in every corner that they were present and made it into an elite sport. The famous saying, “cricket is a game for a real live man, keep fit little man, keep fit”, sums it up beautifully.

The pace and harmony with which it was played was similar to a musical symphony, wherein one was relaxed to enjoy every note or stroke in cricketing terms. Cricket writers around the world have eulogised not only the masters who played the game, but also the surroundings and the people following it too. One of the renowned cricket writers C.L.K. James summed it up perfectly, “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know”.

Cricket has evolved over times from the ‘play to finish’ to a five-day Test match. The customer, in this case, the spectator, as one commonly refers to in marketing jargon, as the king, has been at the center stage of the way the game has changed over the years. The paucity of time and the pace of life has played a major part in changing the tide of the royal game.

Test cricket, fortunately, is still revered amongst the cricketers and serious cricket followers as the ultimate form of the game, but this is changing rapidly in the fast pace digital world of today. Cricket is not just a sport anymore but has become the source of entertainment in the same vein as an action packed movie or an exciting event. Test cricket is gradually receding into a test of time and resilience, patience and endurance which is respected by fans and the people playing it has now given way to flamboyance, aggression and stardom.

Cricket, Life, British
The pace and harmony with which it was played was similar to a musical symphony, wherein one was relaxed to enjoy every note or stroke in cricketing terms. Wikimedia Commons

A cricketer is now more inclined to be known for his hitting rather than for his technique. Cricketers, as one sadly gathers, are now more focused on playing the shorter limited overs format of the game, rather than in acquiring skills to play Test cricket for their country. The only way forward, is to recognize an Indian cap, only when one plays Test cricket, maybe this would incentivise the upcoming cricketers to get serious about the conventional form of the game. An Indian cap for a T20 or an ODI player should not be given the weightage and aura of a Test cap.

Unfortunately, time and tide waits for no man. The show must go on and so cricket in any form is better than nothing at all. One can feel the cause of worry, when the modern master of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, a quiet observer at most times, speak vehemently about the changes required for the progress of the game. The 50-overs cricket, which boasts of the aspiration of every modern day cricketer “The World Cup”, he feels, needs to be altered not only to suit the spectators but also for the benefit of the teams and the players.

A 25-overs per 2 innings is a fabulous idea as the present game of the 50 overs version has become boring between the 15th and 40th overs. The fielding side, at most times, is left to play defensive cricket, whereas, the batsmen need very little skills to accumulate runs. Breaking that monotony is a good way to keep cricketers and their support staff on their toes and gives the spectators a change of scene as well. The most important aspect is that it gives both the teams a more equal opportunity of the conditions during the match. I feel this should be tested in the Indian domestic scenario as quickly as possible.

T20 format is now easily the most popular version of the game. However, one can see that this format is also gradually losing out to the T10 and the 100 balls per side matches. The tide is changing very rapidly towards cricket becoming a home-run sport, enjoyed by one and all, for only hitting boundaries. The T20 could in the near future soon become a two innings encounter of 10 overs each.

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One’s only worry is that the very characteristics and the core values of the game of cricket are being gradually disturbed to cater to the commercial advantages of all the stakeholders involved in the game. One cannot see that as unreasonable, but the very essence of why and how the game was being played is giving away to the hit and run ways of today’s world.

A cyclone is brewing to uproot the very base of pure cricket which has stood like a pinnacle of glory over a century of time. They say “a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”, and one hopes that cricket too lingers on in the same way in its new avatar. (IANS)