wooden tablets


Rongorongo Tablets from Easter Island

No one knows the meaning of the symbols carved into these 25 ancient wooden tablets found on Easter Island. The pictographs seem to be arranged in patterns, such as a genetic code, calendar, or incantation.

Roman Tablet Recording the Sale of the Slave Girl Victoria, Dated 19th May,  274 AD

A wooden tabula with and handwritten ink text recording the sale of a ten-year-old slave girl; a rare and exceptional legal document, providing a fascinating insight into the functioning of Roman society and its economy. The contract follows standard Roman legal formulae.

Translated as “On May 19th, AD 274. Apertius Florus buys from Masuna, son of Masincthanis, the Egyptian-Garamantican girl ++MG/AM who lives at Auluemi Maior, who from now on is called Victoria, 10 years old, for 31 thousand denarii. (…) Masuna said that he received and has this sum from Apertius Florus. … He has (the girl?) on May 29th …”,

Roman Stylus and Ligula , 2nd-3rd Century AD

A tapering bronze round-section stylus with baluster and angled scraper; secured by a length of chain to an equal-arm cross plaque and a triangular hooked ligula.

A stylus was a metal pen used for scratching words into wax on wooden tablets. A ligula was an  instrument with a narrow cup-shaped scoop, which may have been used as a medical probe, an ear scoop or for picking up small quantities of ointment.

Six Roman stili and a wooden stilus tablet, 1st-2nd century, London. At the British Museum, London.

The stili were used to write on wax-surfaced tablets, few of which have survived.
The letter on the wooden writing tablet has been translated:
‘Rufus, son of Callisunus, greetings to Epillicus and all his fellows. I believe you know that I am very well. If you have made the list, please send it. See that you do everything carefully so as to extract the last coin from that girl…’