Of Hercules and Proserpina: classical mythology in Roman Lincolnshire

Let’s face it, the average person in Roman Britain wasn’t sat around in a toga in an expensively decorated villa reading the works of Virgil. The level of knowledge of classical literature and mythology in the province is a fascinating subject though, as we get occasional tantalising glimpses of a level of education and understanding that might be considered above average. Continue reading

Offerings for the smith god? Vulcan finger rings from Lincolnshire

Of all of the depictions of deities from Roman Britain, finger ring intaglios offer some of the greatest variety, but are also perhaps the easiest to overlook. These miniature works of art were extremely portable, cost effective to trade across large distances, but also easy to lose. The distribution of their findspots has therefore not typically been seen as a reliable indicator of the spread of religious belief. After all, a finger ring could easily slip off the finger while working, or as seems to have been the case at the baths at Caerleon, hot water could make the intaglio come loose from the ring itself. Apart from where they are discovered in a specifically religious context (for example the quantities found at Bath), the find of an intaglio depicting a specific deity cannot automatically be said to represent the worship of that deity in that vicinity, or even that the original wearer particularly venerated that deity. Continue reading

Pugio-a-go-go: A decorated legionary dagger sheath from Lincoln

I often get asked what my favourite Roman artefact from Lincolnshire is. It’s a very difficult question to answer as there are so many wonderful objects and monuments to choose from, all fascinating in their own way. The pugio (dagger) sheath I’d like to discuss in this post, though, would definitely be well up there in my top 10. Although not a new find, it’s an amazing object and well worthy of being known about more widely. Continue reading

Roman stone floor unearthed at Lincoln’s Eastern Bypass excavations

The ongoing excavations at Lincoln’s Eastern Bypass have produced some incredible multi-period archaeology. I have discussed some of the Romano-British findings in various earlier posts (see below), but the excavations continue to reveal more of the Roman structures and activity. The latest update from the site is of the discovery of an impressive stone floor surface. Continue reading

Outsiders and executions? An important new Roman cemetery near Sleaford

Roman burials in Lincolnshire have been a source of immense interest in recent years (see my post on some previous discoveries here) and the trend looks to continue with news of a fascinating burial group excavated by local archaeologists Allen Archaeology in 2012, the report of which I have just seen. Continue reading

New funding for late Roman pottery studies in Northeast Lincolnshire

The Roman Research Trust has announced that it has awarded a grant to Dr Steven Willis of the University of Kent to support research into late Roman pottery excavated in Northeast Lincolnshire. You can read a press release on it here, where Dr Willis explains the significance of the pottery for understanding the late Roman economy in the area, traditionally thought to have been greatly affected by seaborne raiding. He believes that the ceramic evidence will demonstrate that, on the contrary, something of an economic boom can be demonstrated. The results of the work will be extremely interesting for our wider understanding of the processes affecting daily life at the end of the Roman period. Continue reading