Paw prints from a domestic cat were recently noticed by researchers on a 2,000-year-old Roman roof tile, proving that cats have been remorseless life-ruiners since at least the dawn of Christianity.
The tile was originally discovered in 1969 in Gloucester, UK, and has been sitting largely unnoticed at the Gloucester City Museum ever since (“At that time the archaeologists seem to have been more interested in digging things up than looking at what they found,” sniffed David Rice, the museum’s curator, to Discovery News).
“I believe there are more cat paw prints found on ancient Roman tiles in Britain than anywhere else in the Roman Empire including Italy. Roman Britons must have had a special liking for cats,” Rice added.
A museum spokesperson mapped out the irritating scenario for the Telegraph:
“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.”
Cats: even the Romans couldn’t keep them in line.
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Photo courtesy Gloucester City Museums.