A Romano-British leather shoe from the City of London

A Romano-British leather shoe from the City of London, from the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum
During August, we are publishing through this blog a series of new photographs taken by archaeological photographer Ian Cartwright for an online Image Gallery created with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council. You can read more about the gallery here, and you can see the whole gallery online here.

Here is the caption for this image:

This is a Romano-British leather shoe (top and bottom view) with iron hobnails. The text written onto it in red ink – “ROMAN SOLDIER CALIGA, LONDON WALL, 22 FT IN PEAT DEC 11 1866” – refers to Pitt-Rivers’ pioneering salvage recording, undertaken during the construction of  during the construction of the Gooch and Cousens wool warehouse on the south side of London Wall, opposite Finsbury Circus in the City of London. 

The deep excavations revealed organic materials preserved in waterlogged deposits. The Pitt Rivers Museum holds more than 250 objects recovered during this salvage archaeology, including copper alloy pins, needles and spoons; a wide range of iron objects; Romano-British and post-Roman ceramics; animal bone and bone tools; samples of wooden piles; human remains, and leather shoes such as these.  

Pitt-Rivers wrongly thought the site was a ‘lake village’ that was the stronghold of Cassivellaunus – the chieftain who led defence against Julius Caesar in 54 BC. A soldier himself, General Pitt-Rivers’ recording of a Roman military boot (caliga) conveys a sense of his imaginative interest in archaeological evidence of the encounters between prehistoric and Roman populations.
(Pitt Rivers Museum Accession Number 1884.92.42).

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