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VIRTUAL - A Foot in Both Camps: The Extraordinary Assemblage of Archaeological Shoes from Vindolanda Roman Fort

January 20, 2023 @ 7:00 pm PST

This is an online event.

AIA Society: Stanford

Lecturer: Elizabeth M. Greene

Think of everything we use every day made from plastic, rubber and industrial fabric—that’s how important leather was to the daily lives of the Romans in antiquity. The military fort and civilian settlement at Vindolanda near Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England has produced the largest assemblage of archaeological leather from anywhere in the Roman Empire (7,315 items and counting!). The assemblage includes around 5000 Roman shoes, as well as large items of military equipment such as tent panels and horse accoutrement, and smaller items such as patches, toggles, and production offcuts. This assemblage allows us to investigate in detail the construction of shoes in antiquity as well as the types, sizes and wear patterns on Roman shoes. Since leather is almost never preserved in the archaeological record, this assemblage is extremely important to understand what we’re missing from typical archaeological environments. This talk will introduce the audience to the assemblage of archaeological leather from Vindolanda and discuss some of the amazing and unique finds that have emerged from the site, as well as the rare archaeological environments that preserve leather in such a pristine state. Elizabeth Greene has worked at Vindolanda for nearly twenty years, focusing her research on the leather assemblage for over a decade, and will share her first-hand experience with this important assemblage of archaeological material.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Driel-Murray, C. van. 1993. “The Leather Work,” in Vindolanda Research Reports. Volume III, The Early Wooden Forts: Preliminary reports on the leather, textiles, environmental evidence and dendrochronology (Hexham: The Vindolanda Trust) 1-75.

Goubitz, O., C. van Driel-Murray, W. Groenman-van Waateringe, Stepping through Time. Archaeological Footwear from Prehistoric Times until 1800 (Zwolle: Stichting Promotie Archeologie)

Greene, E.M. 2019. “Metal fittings on the Vindolanda shoes: Footwear and evidence for podiatric knowledge in the Roman world,” in S. Pickup and S. Waite, Surveying Shoes, Slippers and Sandals in Antiquity. Routledge. 310-24.

Greene, E.M. 2018. “Footwear and Fashion on the Fringe: Stamps and Decoration on Leather and Shoes from Vindolanda (1993-2016)” in T. Ivleva, J. De Bruin, M. Driessen (eds.), Embracing the Provinces: Society and Material Culture of the Frontier Regions. Oxbow. 143-152.

Greene, E.M. 2014. “If the shoe fits: Style and function of children’s shoes from Vindolanda” in R. Collins and F. McIntosh (eds.), Life in the Limes: Studies of the People and Objects of the Roman Frontiers (Oxford: Oxbow)

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January 20, 2023
7:00 pm PST
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