Britons may be famous for their lack of fashion sense and Italians for their style. But it appears we may have inherited one of our biggest sartorial crimes from the Romans.
By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Published: 10:00PM BST 25 Aug 2010
New evidence from an archaeological dig has found that legionnaires wore socks with sandals.
Rust on a nail from a Roman sandal found in newly discovered ruins in North Yorkshire appears to contain fibres which could suggest that a sock-type garment was being worn.
Now scientists are examining the remains in the laboratory to see if it is true.
The fashion faux pas was found in a 2000-year-old "industrial estate" excavated as part of a £318 million Highways Agency scheme to upgrade the A1 between Dishforth and Leeming in North Yorkshire.
The unearthed site includes the remains of a water-powered flour mill used to grind grain and produce food for the soldiers, clothes, food remains, graves and pottery.
It also contains the evidence of the socks in 14 graves on the outskirts of the area.
Blaise Vyner, an archaeologist heading the cultural heritage team on site, said: "You don't imagine Romans in socks but I am sure they would have been pretty keen to get hold of some as soon as autumn came along."