A hoard of 25 personal letters and lists has been discovered near Hardian's Wall after they were discarded during the 1st Century AD.
The ink documents were found several metres down in damp earth at the Roman fort of Vindolanda in Northumberland.One of the letters was written by a man called Masclus, who is best known for a previous letter to his Commanding Officers asking for more beer, this time asking for leave from work.
These incredibly rare and fragile wafer-thin pieces of wood are often less than 2mm in thickness and about the size of modern day postcards.
Experts believe the tablets, which have been preserved in anaerobic soils, were written between 85-92 AD.
Had a sort of Hollywood alt-history thought, a mashup of reality and fiction. Lets say good ol' Masclus turned out to be an immortal. If he left the legion and settled in Britain, Gaul, or wherever, within a few centuries Latin would have died out as a living language. From a neuroscience standpoint, if Masclus had learned Saxon as it developed, then Old English, then Middle English etc., after say 100 years of not having spoken or heard working Roman Latin, would Masclus still understand it? My extremely limited understanding of how the brain works is that all that brain circuitry tends to deteriorate unless refreshed, and learning a new language might "overwrite" some pathways that would erase part of past lingual abilities.