The Wilsford hunter god

Although the most famous gods and goddesses of the Roman world are those of the classical pantheon – Jupiter, Minerva, Mercury and such, the average person in Roman Lincolnshire probably called on a host of local deities for help when needed just as much, if not more, than these famous international gods. Although we do of course have evidence for the worship of imported classical gods in Lincolnshire, we have an equal amount of evidence to suggest that localised deities of specific places played just as important a role in the spiritual landscape of the county. Continue reading


The importance of provenance: a Roman votive hand from Lincolnshire

It is an all too common fallacy that archaeology is the search for objects. It isn’t. It’s the search for information about the past, of which objects are but one facet. Where an object is found is of paramount importance if it is to tell us all it can about its original function and social context. I was therefore saddened to come across a link today to an unusual Roman object from Lincolnshire being sold on a website with only the vaguest of provenances. Continue reading

Baking, boating or cheese making? A unique wooden paddle from Lincoln’s Roman waterfront

Some of the most fascinating excavations of Roman Lincoln have taken place around the Brayford Pool and River Witham. A series of investigations in the late 1980s revealed much evidence for the structure of the Roman waterfront and the activities that occurred there, including the dumping of rubbish. The anaerobic conditions led to the discovery of some of the greatest concentrations of surviving organic material from the city, but sadly the excavations have never been fully published and remain rather unknown. This post will look at one object from those waterfront excavations – a unique wooden ‘paddle’, the original function of which remains obscure. Continue reading

The tombstone of Lincoln’s ‘jet necklace’ lady

The tombstones of numerous residents of Roman Lincoln have been discovered through the years, providing a fascinating, if fragmentary, insight into the city’s occupants – or at least those who could afford such grand funerary monuments. One tombstone appears to not be very well known and, as it will soon be going on display at The Collection museum for the first time in many decades, is worthy of highlighting here. Continue reading

Portable healing? Snake jewellery in Roman Lincolnshire

Items of jewellery represent some of the most attractive finds from Roman Britain, and the wide variety of forms of brooches, rings and bracelets can tell us much about changing fashions and clothing styles. Some jewellery, however, is more than simply practical or decorative, and it is one such form that I wish to look at the Lincolnshire evidence for here – the fascinating phenomenon of finger rings and bracelets bearing snake imagery. Continue reading

Souvenirs from Hadrian’s Wall? Two enamelled copper alloy vessels from North Lincolnshire

Tourism in the ancient world is a fascinating subject, and we should not assume that either the desire or the ability to travel and see the great sites of the world are modern phenomena. Just as today, tourism was accompanied by the acquisition of souvenirs and mementos and it is two potential souvenirs from Hadrian’s Wall that I want to discuss here. Continue reading