Another article was published today in the Hexham Courant about the piece of perpetual Roman Calender that Bryan and I discovered at Vindolanda on 7th July this year. It adds some details. Here's the link:
or read below. There's a picture on the original article.
"Vindolanda calendar is one of rarest finds
By BRIAN TILLEY email@example.com
Last updated 13:35, Thursday, 31 July 2008
ANOTHER glittering jewel has been added to the Roman treasure trove that is the Vindolanda fort at Bardon Mill.
Treasure trove: The extremely rare perpetual calendar unearthed at Vindolanda.Archaeologists excavating the massive twin granaries at the site have come across part of an object never found in Britain before a Roman perpetual calendar.
The fragment, just eight centimetres long and made of bronze, features the month of September.
It has a line of punched holes, each representing two days.
The correct days are marked for the Kalends, (Kalendae) here abbreviated by a K, the first day of the month, followed by N for the Nones (Nonae) the 5th, and ID for the Ides (Idus) the 13th, as well as the autumn Equinox, the 23rd, here marked as AE, short for Aequinoctium.
The complete calendar would have been a portable circular disc, around 25 centimetres in diameter, and every two days a peg would have been moved into the next hole, so that the correct date could be read.
Director of Vindolanda Research, Robin Birley, was astonished by the find.
He said: I had always wondered how the soldiers could keep track of dates, without the benefit of daily newspapers and diaries.
In the larger towns and cities, a calendar would be inscribed or painted on to the side of a building, but without some method of indicating the passing of days it could have been somewhat confusing.
The army system of a portable calendar, like the Vindolanda example, was brilliantly simple as long as the clerk responsible for moving the pegs every two days did his job properly.
This calendar is the only example to be found in Britain so far and, as far as is known, none have been found in other parts of what was the Roman Empire.
The Vindolanda Trusts director of excavations, Andrew Birley, commented: This is an extraordinary find, and it ranks with the famous writing tablets as one of the rarest objects ever found at Vindolanda.
The calendar will be exhibited at the Vindolanda museum this autumn when conservation is completed in the museum laboratory.
Even though Julius Caesar reformed the calendar in 46BC, neither he nor anyone else simplified their archaic system of naming the days of the month.
There were three fixed points. The Kalends were so called because on the first, the times of the Nones and various festivals were called out.
The Ides got their name from being at the middle or dividing point of the month, and the Nones from being the ninth day before the Ides.
To complicate matters further, although the Nones were on the fifth of the month for eight months out of 12, they were on the seventh in March, May, July and October because in those months the Ides had to be on the 15th instead of the 13th.
Dates between the Kalends and Nones, Nones and Ides and Ides and the next Kalends had to be calculated backwards.
Vindolanda is one of the most exciting sites along Hadrians Wall with its wealth of archaeological remains and ongoing excavations.
Excavations with a large contingent of volunteers drawn from all over the world will continue every day until mid-September (weather permitting).
For further information visit www.vindolanda.com
or telephone (01434) 344277."