Food in Roman Britain

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Highlighting Historical Fiction with Cindy Tomamichel who discusses food in Roman Britain

Reading about food is always fun, and more so when it is in the past. What did people eat, and how has food changed over time?

I write time travel historical fantasy set in Roman Britain. I use various resources for research, including archaeology results, ancient writers, and modern interpretations of cooking ancient recipes.

Food items are preserved in a variety of ways – waterlogging, where no decay occurs without oxygen. This is important at the Vindolanda fort on Hadrian’s Wall. A huge variety of material ranging from leather sandals, wooden toilet seats and animal bones have been recovered there from the wet mud.

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Reconstruction of a Roman Kitchen, Roman Museum in Butchery Lane, Canterbury, Kent. Photo by Linda Spashett (Storye book) / CC BY (

Another way foods are preserved is the result of a disaste r. Charring of grains and nuts are preserved via fire to become carbonised. Any invasion or battle or an accident may result in this sort of preservation, including Boudicca burning Londinium.

A less pleasant way to investigate is the end product of the food.  Fossilisation in latrines and rubbish heaps and burial sites where food offerings often accompanied burials.

Ancient authors such as Caesar also mention food imports and local foods. Apicius recorded many Roman recipes which are being recreated today. At the Vindolanda fort many shopping lists were found preserved in the mud.

In this way many familiar foods today can be established as being imported by the Romans. Plants such as garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, cabbages, peas, celery, turnips, radishes, and asparagus. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, bay, basil and savoury mint. Fruit and nut trees such as walnuts and sweet chestnuts  apples, grapes, mulberries and cherries.

About the Book

Druid’s Portal: The First Journey

A portal closed for 2,000 years.

An ancient religion twisted by modern greed.

A love that crosses the centuries.

An ancient druid pendant shows archaeologist Janet visions of Roman soldier Trajan. The visions are of danger, death, and love – but are they a promise or a curse?

Her fiancé Daman hurts and abandons her before the wedding, her beloved museum is ransacked, and a robed man vanishes before her eyes. Haunted by visions of a time she knows long gone, Janet teeters on the edge of a breakdown.

In the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall and 2,000 years back in time, Janet’s past and present collide. Daman has vowed to drive the invaders from the shores of Britain, and march his barbarian hordes to Rome. Trajan swears vengeance against the man who threatens both his loves – Janet and the Empire.

Time is running out – for everyone.


Book trailer:

About the Author

Cindy Tomamichel is a multi-genre writer. Escape the everyday with the time travel action adventure series Druid’s Portal, science fiction and fantasy stories or tranquil scenes for relaxation. Discover worlds where the heroines don’t wait to be rescued, and the heroes earn that title the hard way.

Writers struggling with social media and platform building can get some practical organization help in “The Organized Author” book or author services. Doing NaNo this year? Grab my free help booklet ‘NaNoWriMo Ready’.

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