In each Roman military camp, latrines were built, fed with running water from nearby streams. The analysis of the contents of the septic tank rinsed from these sanitary facilities allowed archaeologists to reconstruct the diet of Roman soldiers (it turns out that not only digging in the ground but also in… excrement can be extremely beneficial for science). The thing is, there are some remnants of the digested seeds there. Here in cold Britain, on the line of fortifications known as Hadrian’s Wall, products such as olives, figs and dates were often eaten, although apples were also not scorned.
Most of these exotic fruits had to be imported from the Mediterranean with considerable effort and resources. Notes on birch-bark tablets found in the fort in Vindolanda (today Chesterholm in northern England) also mention beer, bacon, sour wine and… porridge. On the other hand, an analysis of rubbish dumps with piles of discarded bones reveals a preference for meat. The pork was eaten most eagerly, although mutton and beef were not scorned either. In some Roman camps, we also find traces of the consumption of camels and dogs. On the other hand, horseback was clearly avoided elsewhere, probably due to the sentiment towards its own mounts.