Writing tablet

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found at Newstead, Roxburghshire

Postcard of Writing tablet.
© National Museums Scotland

Writing tablet

This pine writing tablet was found during excavations at the site of the Roman fort at Newstead in Roxburghshire. It dates from between 80 and 100 AD.

The central area of a sheet of pine has been hollowed out to hold wax on which the message was written using a stylus. When ready for dispatch, pairs of tablets could be tied up like a book.

Brought to Scotland by the Romans, writing was a vital part of the bureaucracy generated by the army. The most common writing materials were wax and wooden tablets inscribed with a stylus, and tablets of thin leaves of wood written with ink.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-037-193-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FRA 710
Date: Between 80 and 100 AD
Material: Wood, pine
Dimensions: 5.50" x 4.38"
Who: Newstead Collection
Where: Scotland, Roxburghshire, Melrose, Newstead
Description: Wooden writing tablet from Newstead
  • Clarke, D.V., Breeze, D.J., and Mackay, Ghillean. The Romans in Scotland. An introduction to the collections of the National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland. Edinburgh: National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, 1980, p 51. 
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