Two incredible recent archaeological finds provide powerful and beautiful visual reminders of the presence of the Roman Empire in Great Britain.
Amateur archaeologists in southeast England discovered a Roman mosaic, dating back more than 1000 years in the small village of Boxford. The the dig led by the Boxford History Projectand the Berkshire archaeology Research Group has been excavating Roman sites in the area since 2015.
When the first, vibrant colors of the mosaic poked through the broken dirt of the excavation site, “I was stunned into silence,” said the leader of the Boxford History Project, Joy Appleton, in an interview with the New York Times.
The mosaic shows characters and beasts from Roman mythology, including Bellerophon and the chimera. The team has also unearthed jewelry, coins, and an entire barn.
Meanwhile in Gloucestershire metal detector users uncovered a hoard of ancient Roman bronze artefacts that includes a sculpture of a licking dog never found before in Britain. The licking dog is an example of a healing statue, and may be linked to a Roman healing temple at Lydney. The exact location of the discovery is not being disclosed.
Reference: Sarah Gibbens. “Massive Roman Mosaic Unearthed in England.” National Geographic, 20 September 2017; and: Press Association. “Metal Detectorists Unearth Unique Hoard of Roman Artefacts.” The Guardian, 27 September 2017.
The bronze sculpture of a “licking dog’ discovered in Gloucestershire. Photograph: Gloucestershire County Council/PA.
Roman Terret (Rein Guide), c. 50. Found at East Anglia. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nr. 6079.
Roman gladiator figurine, 1st or 2nd century. The British Museum, Nr. P&EE 1888 7-19 97.
Haltwhistle (Northumberland, England) – Hadrian’s Wall, Roman Britain, c 150. University of California, San Diego
Roman Provincial Statuettes of Gods and Goddesses. c. 200. Found Southbroom, Wiltshire. The British Museum
Roman Painting at Lullingstone Villa Chapel, c 350. The British Museum.
Further Reading: Adam Rogers. The Archaeology of Roman Britain: Biography and Identity. New York: Routledge, 2015.
Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow. The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy: Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015.