The Sounds of the Past

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Highlighting the facts behind Historical Romance with Cindy Tomamichel and Druid’s Portal

I write time travel set in Roman Britain. Recreating a world that has been gone for two thousand years can be difficult but rewarding. I use various resources for research, including archaeology results, ancient writers, and modern recreations of ancient times.

Physical 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, weapons, gaming boards and animal bones have been recovered there from the wet mud. Some of the more enchanting finds have been children’s shoes, and an invitation to a young woman’s birthday party. All of these bring the past back to life, and in a way that reminds us that people don’t really change much, and we share a great deal even if separated by time.

But the sounds of two thousand years ago are not so readily preserved. What would a market sound like when Roman Britain and the Empire was a melting pot of languages and customs? Latin in many different accents, local dialects, the booming voice of a commanding officer. Local languages, both fluent and halting. The sounds of scared animals led to a marketplace. Goats, sheep, chickens, pigs – although these are not so hard to imagine, but cock fighting and the bay of war hounds is out of modern day experience.

In food preparation – what might someone hear in their kitchen? The thud and grind of a mortar and pestle grinding herbs to powder. The steady slosh of cream being shaken in a bag to make butter. The rumble of a chariot outside, hooves and wooden wheels thudding over cobblestones or a dirt track. The yawn of a dog on the hearth, or the pounce of a cat in the pantry after a mouse in a sack of grain.  The quiet that is the lack of traffic, no TV, no radio. Perhaps a slave singing a nursery rhyme to send a fretful child to sleep.

Two techniques have been discovered. The Romans in Germany used to hold up their rounded shields, yelling inunison to produce a booming sound. Others would bang their shields and yell, although it became more common for Roman soldiers to march silently into battle. Another weapon found in abundance at a fort in Scotland were small slingshots with holes. When these were recreated and thrown, they made a sharp insect buzzing noise, which would have added to the fear as the lead projectiles themselves landed with the force of a modern bullet.

About the book: Druid’s Portal

A portal closed for 2,000 years.

An ancient religion twisted by modern greed.

A love that crosses the centuries.

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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.

Link: Druid’s Portal

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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.

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