16th March 2016:
Visitors to an exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge will have the chance to view the extraordinary discovery of a child's footprint impressed into the surface of a Roman roof tile.
The exhibition, Hide and Seek: Looking for Children in the past, is a collaborative project organised by the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Cambridgeshire County Council, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which seeks to shine a light on the lives of children in the past.
The roof tile, on display with objects as diverse as toys, feeding bottles, dolls, and miniature ceramic vessels, was recovered from Oxford Archaeology's excavation of the Roman town of Alchester near Bicester in Oxfordshire for Network Rail, Chiltern Railways and Wendlebury Gate Stables. The tile is likely to date to the 1st century AD, but the layer in which it was found – rubble sealing the demolished remains of a building – may be 2nd century or as late as 3rd century in date.
The footprint appears to be that of a toddler and conjures images of a child running across a row of soft, unfired tiles drying in the open air. While the footprints of dogs, cats or farm animals are often seen on Roman tiles, human feet, particularly those of children, are much rarer.
The exhibition is open now and will close on 29th January 2017. Click here for more details.