Due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020stopped work not only restaurants, hairdressers and shopping centers. Many groups of scientists were forced to stop their activities - at least, this affected the scope of archaeological excavations. But do not think that for several months archaeologists and museum staff were lying on their couch at home, sipping beer and staging marathons to watch TV shows. Employees of one of the museums in England, for example, after stopping the excavation, decided to make out the trash in their vaults. Over the years of research, the museum has accumulated more than 7000 leather products found in the territory of the ancient Roman military camp of Vindolanda. Among all this garbage, researchers found very interesting artifacts.
Archaeological work on the territory of the fortressdating back to the 19th century. According to researchers, Vindolanda was built around 85 AD. Initially, during its construction, trees and land were used, but subsequently the structure was strengthened several times with stone. It is believed that the fortress was intended to repel raids picts and existed for many years. Near the camp there are traces of a settlement, the inhabitants of which could supply warriors with food.
Picts - the people who lived on the territory of modernScotland during the early Middle Ages. This name was given to them by the Romans and literally it can be translated as "tattooed people." The bodies of the Picts were really decorated with drawings and today they are known as enemies of the Romans and the Vikings.
Judging by the remains, all four sides of the fortresswere equipped with a gate. The structure was built on moist, clay soil, in which there was always a lack of oxygen - such conditions do not allow the occurrence of oxidative processes, which means that ancient objects do not rot and retain their original appearance for as long as possible.
In 1973, in the territory of Vindoland were foundwooden plaques with inscriptions that helped scientists learn a lot about the life of the inhabitants of the military camp. The inscriptions were made in coal ink and, thanks to the good storage conditions, were perfectly preserved. By 2010, historians have managed to decipher more than 700 tablets. In addition to them, leather shoes, clothes, wooden toys and even boxing gloves were found in the camp.
All these historical objects were exhibited inthe so-called Vindolanda Museum. Among the finds, the researchers found a lot of garbage that was sent to the store. Since 1993, more than 7,000 leather products have been stockpiled in warehouses. While various blindfolds and leather bags were sent to the museum, all kinds of rags went to the warehouse. During the pandemic, museum staff decided to delve into all this trash and found a very interesting artifact.
It's about the shape of a mouse cut out of a piecedense skin. At first, the researchers thought it was a toy in the form of a lizard, but then they thoroughly cleaned it of dirt and saw the texture of the wool. It became quite clear that before the eyes of the museum staff there was an artificial mouse. According to researcher Barbara Birley, this is a very unexpected find for them. It turned out that in their collection, which few people paid attention to, very interesting things are stored.
What exactly was this figure intended for ina mouse, historians can only guess. Only two assumptions come to mind. Firstly, it can be a toy made especially for children who lived in a nearby settlement. Secondly, it can be an antique item for a draw. Indeed, in all kinds of "joke shops" there are rubber spiders and snakes - maybe this is a long-time entertainment of the Romans?
Researchers noted that once upon a time infortresses and so there were plenty of rodents. In 2008, they unearthed the granary of a military camp and discovered skeletons of thousands of mice that fed on grain reserves. The bones of rodents were probably removed, but the rubber mouse found will take pride of place among the exhibits of the museum.
Judging by the calm reaction of archaeologists, the mice were small. But if they had found the remains of giant rats living thousands of years ago, they would have made a big noise!
In fact, such repositories with interestingthere are artifacts in almost all museums located near archaeological sites. Researchers find thousands of objects and bones every year and simply do not have time to study them, so they are sent to warehouses. This is just to think - how many interesting finds have not yet been studied?
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Among them there are even remains of previously unknownanimals. Fortunately, the hands of researchers sooner or later get to them. I already talked about one of the previously unknown animals in one of the old materials. Until 2019, the bones of a predator, which was given the name "Big Lion from Africa," were stored in the storehouse of the National Museum of Kenya in Nairobi. He lived 22 million years ago and was larger than modern polar bears - a real monster.