This tile fragment was recovered from a site located just outside a Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall. Such fragments are frequently found across Roman sites, but this one has a dog’s paw print on the top face. Animal prints (including human fingerprints and footprints) are common and give us some insight into the production methods employed in making ceramic building materials (CBM).
In this case, we can infer that after forming the tile it was left to dry on the ground, either in the open or in an open-sided structure that allowed animals to wander through. The same can be said when we find sheep or deer prints. However, some animal prints such as rodents, cats or birds could have been made when the CBM was drying on shelves, and they do not necessarily indicate an open structure.