Caturday Reader: Two Thousand-Year-Old Cat Paw Print Discovered

The tile was one of scores of Roman relics found during a dig in Gloucester in 1969 but the paw prints have only just been noticed. Image courtesy of Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery

The tile was one of scores of Roman relics found during a dig in Gloucester in 1969 but the paw prints have only just been noticed.
Image courtesy of Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery

The print has only just been noticed on a Roman roof tile that was unearthed in Gloucester, England in the 1960s.

A cat’s paw print that has survived for almost 2,000 years has been spotted on a Roman roof tile that was unearthed by archaeologists in Gloucester.

The tile was one of scores of Roman relics found during a dig in Gloucester in 1969 but the paw prints have only just been noticed. They were spotted by an archaeologist sifting through thousands of fragments of Roman roof tile at the city museum.

When Romans made roof tiles they left the wet clay out to dry in the sun. Animals, and people, sometimes walked across the drying tiles and left their footprints behind.

The cat is thought to have snuck across the wet tiles in Gloucester in about AD100, probably at the annoyance of the tile makers, but this did not stop the Romans from using the tile. The tile, a type called tegula, was used on the roof of a building in what became the Berkeley Street area of modern Gloucester.

Councillor Lise Noakes, cabinet member for culture and leisure at Gloucester City Council, said:

“What a fascinating discovery.Dog paw prints, people’s boot prints and even a piglet’s trotter print have all been found on tiles from Roman Gloucester, but cat prints are very rare. Why not come along and see it for yourself at The City Museum and Art Gallery?”

The City Museum and Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 5pm, excluding bank holidays.

Crash

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