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Roman foot reveals fashion blunder

By CNN's Sandra Shmueli

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Wearing socks and sandals is
a fashion blunder

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Roman society may be described as one of the great civilizations but an excavation of a Roman site in London shows the Romans lacked a sense of style.

Archeologists unearthed a life-size bronze foot from a statue that appears to be wearing a sock and a sandal.

The foot was discovered last month during a year-long excavation of a temple precinct at a site in Southwark, south London.

"The foot is wearing a Mediterranean-type sandal but the piece that would normally go between the big toe and the second toe is stretched. There are no details of toenails which also suggests that the foot was covered," said Nansi Rosenberg, senior archeological consultant at E.C. Harris, which is managing the excavation of the three-acre temple complex.

"It is not a usual discovery. Wearing socks with sandals is not something that the Romans would have wanted to admit to," she told CNN.

The Romans, who occupied much of Britain for several centuries, have traditionally been seen as tough and hardy settlers who wore open-toe sandals even in the coldest winter weather. The recent find could overturn that idea.

"I would think their excuse would be that it was very cold in Britain. Tacitus (the ancient historian) refers to the horrendous temperatures in his writings," Rosenberg said.

The foot may have belonged to a statue of the god Mars Camulos -- archeologists found an inscription dedicated to him near the heart of the precinct -- or it may have come from a statue of a Roman emperor.

A pot of Roman face cream was also found at the temple complex.

"The site contains two temple buildings and a possible guesthouse. It is a religious center in Roman London -- it is an impressive and monumental site," Rosenberg said.

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