Archaeologists have announced that they've identified the oldest known Roman military fortress in Germany. The archaeologists believe that the ancient fort was constructed to house thousands of Roman troops during Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul in the late 50s BC. Ancient fragments of pottery and damaged sandal fragments helped the archaeologists to date the discovery.
According to the archaeologists, this discovery is important because it's one of the few archaeological sites that documents Julius Caesar's campaign in Gaul. The archaeological site is close to a German town known as Hermeskeil near the French border. This particular site has been known since the 19th century but until now, there was no evidence indicating what the site was.
Part of the difficulty in identifying the ruins had to do with the fact that it was partially covered or destroyed by agricultural development. The scientists note that remains of the wall were preserved in the forest, but it had been impossible to prove it was a Roman military camp as was suspected. The piece of evidence that allowed the archaeologists to identify the site as a Roman military camp was an ancient and tiny nail out of a Roman soldiers sandal.
The nail was discovered between paving stones and presumably work its way out as the soldier walked across the stone road. According to the archaeologists, the underside of the nail was discovered have a pattern with a cross and four studs, which was common in the time period. The little nail measured only 2.6 cm in diameter. The Roman fort was located 3 miles from a Celtic settlement that was once inhabited by the Treveri tribe, famous for massive fortifications called the Circle of the Huns.