Buckinghamshire’s Earliest ‘Recorded’ Resident

Here’s an incredibly interesting followup to that purported brothel/infanticide story from t’other day which likely isn’t going to make it beyond the local press:

A ROMAN woman living around 150-200 AD has become the earliest named Buckinghamshire resident ever to be recorded, Archaeologists say.

Siitomina, who is thought to have lived at the Yewden Villa in Hambleden, carved her name into a pot.

It was found at the same site as a mass infant burial – which archaeologists believe housed a Roman brothel.

Dr Eyers said the fact she was able to write was surprising because the Romans “didn’t like the local population getting too clever by being literate”.

She added it was even more unlikely considering she was a rural woman.

There were 70 styluses – an early form of pen – found on site.

Okay … is it just me or have the folks telling the press about this site totally misinterpreted it? Seventy styluses? Have styluses ever been found in such quantities at one site before ? I honestly don’t know, but surely that would suggest something other than ‘brotheling’ was going on at the site. We should also highlight this little paragraph from the Independent coverage we excerpted the other day (I didn’t include this paragraph in my excerpt):

In 1912, archaeologists found 60 iron styluses (Roman writing utensils) in the complex – a discovery which suggests that many of the inhabitants were scribes involved with some sort of record-keeping activity, potentially governmental or commercial administration. The early archaeologists also found 16 corn-drying kilns, suggesting that the complex was involved in large-scale agricultural processing. Historians know that at the time, food supplies including grain were being shipped from Britain by the Roman authorities to supply the Roman army on the Rhine.

And where this opinion about the Romans not liking the locals becoming literate claim comes from is beyond me. Previous coverage from the Bucks Free Press on the brothel thing includes the following:

Dr Eyers, who began her career as a geologist before switching to archaeology, said the findings are “hugely significant” for learning about Roman life in Britain.

She said: “We do need to do some more tests but if we are spot on this is the first. This is why everyone is so excited.

“This is the sort of information and data set that the Roman archaeologists have been looking for for years.”

Dr Eyers said she only expected it to be a small project when it began and was amazed by the flurry of media interest since Friday.

After interviews with television, radio and newspapers across the country, Dr Eyers is also set to appear on American news channel CNN.

“I feel like a celebrity and I’m a bit overwhelmed,” she said.

…. hmmm … I’ll let y’all form your own conclusions.

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One thought on “Buckinghamshire’s Earliest ‘Recorded’ Resident

  1. Thank you! It seems all evidence presented does not at all point to a “brothel”. I am waiting for more information regarding the artifacts to be released but certainly literate free-women were not also involved in prostitution.

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