Wednesday 1 June 2016

UK’s oldest hand-written document actually a ‘Romexit beer mat’


Oldest document found in London

Roman tablets discovered during an excavation in London include political posters calling on people to vote to leave the Roman empire, archaeologists have revealed.

The Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) said it had deciphered one such document, from 8 January AD 57, found at the dig at Bloomberg’s new London headquarters.

“This document is written on what you could best describe as a ‘beer mat’,” explained one of the researchers.

“It’s made of wood that’s been buried in mud for two-thousand years, so the writing is well-preserved and it’s clear it was written by someone who was very keen to leave the Roman empire.

“It starts off asking ‘what have the Romans ever done for us?’, before listing a series of things residents of Londinium could buy more cheaply if they were no longer influenced by Rome.

“A lot of it is obviously propagandist bullshit, which was typical of the time – because two-thousand years ago people couldn’t do the research themselves on claims like this.

“But it’s a nice reminder of how far society has come in the last two millennia.”

Historian Simon Williams said there was a large Roman-exit movement in London in the mid first-century, with many paintings showing leaders of the movement wearing tweed jackets and drinking and smoking while lecturing the city’s elderly population on how much better off they’d be without the Romans.

“I don’t want to spoil the surprise and tell you exactly how the ‘Romexit’ campaign finished, but let’s just say the Romans didn’t leave for another five-hundred years.”

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