Monday, November 20, 2006

Mouse imprint on a Roman Brick in Germany

I picked this up from British Brick Society's Information 102, page 8, T P Smith, 2006.

Here is a translation of the German text into English using AltaVista's Babelfish (

During opening a Roman ziegelbrennofens with Neupotz was the casting of an antique mouse in a brick. Since February 2001 the LOD Speyer accomplishes Jockrim and the local municipality Neupotz excavations on the gemarkung Neupotz, which became necessary by the classification of a development area in co-operation with the convention community. To day came among other things Roman piece of road, one cellar, three Getreidedarren as well as a complete manufacturing plant for bricks with furnace and workshop. All plants date after the first impression into the second and third after-Christian century.

On the hole threshing floor of the altogether surprisingly well received ziegelbrennofens a Tegulafragment with the highly detailed body casting of a mouse was in the destruction debris (see upper photo). The animal probably killed, when over still yield, to drying which are laid out brick plates ran. The casting is so clear that the rodent could be determined zoologically. See for this the following contribution of the Diplombiologin Martina Dumke.

Determination of the animal casting found at the excavation place The Habitus of the found animal is the one mammal. One finds mouse-well-behaved animals in the order of the insectivores (Insectivora) under the pointed mice and in the order of the rodents (Rodentia) under the genuine mice. The following regulation characteristics can be used on the basis the casting:
* Head fuselage length (KR): Distance between lip point and tail root (70mm)
* Swan length (Schw): Distance between the tail root and the tail point (without final hair) (76mm)
* hind foot length (HF): Distance between Hinterrand of the heel and the front edge of the longest toe (without claw) (19mm)

Further characteristics:
* Apodemus mystacinus rock mouse
* 4 toes at the front feet, 5 toes at the hind feet
* Sohlenschwielen at the hind feet
* split oberlippe
* probably not yet reproductionable male

The Insectivora can be excluded, since these exhibit in each case 5 toes at the rear and front feet. Thus the find animal is to be assigned to the order Rodentia and here the genuine mice. For the determination of the kinds apart from the characteristics specified above also the ear length and the skin condition are needed, by expulsion procedures arrive one however at the kind Apodemus - forest mice. Unfortunately each large regulation and thus the establishment on a kind are pure speculation, since it probably concerns an animal not attained full growth yet and cannot the koerpermasse thus obligatorily be used. Besides important regulation characteristics, like the tooth condition, are missing the skin colouring and the number of tail rings. Unfortunately one cannot orient oneself also at the momentary circulation area, since also mouse populations had to bend themselves in the past millenium in its spreading the strong pressure of humans as well as the climate. The following kinds of the kind Apodemus occur in Europe: *Apodemus mystacinus rock mouse
*Apodemus flavicollis yellow neck mouse (favored by the author)
*Apodemus sylvaticus common forest mouse Apodemus microps dwarf forest mouse
*Apodemus agrarius fire mouse

Hopefully, it gives an idea of the original text! Smith's text in Information says it's a Field Mouse (Apodemus mystacinus). To see the pages, with a couple of photos, go to:
THEN: On the left hand bar click on the link to 'Archaologie in der Pfalz.' Then on the right hand panel scroll down to 'Heir kommt die Maus!' Then click on the link highlighted: 'Mehr ├╝ber dieses Thema erfahren Sie hier'