An unusual ceramic mould from Lincoln’s forum colonnade

The discovery of the eastern colonnade of Lincoln’s forum in 1878 still ranks as one of the most important archaeological finds in the city’s history. When George Allis began digging the foundations of a new house on Bailgate in late April 1878, he could little have suspected that he would soon be discovering the base of a large, sandstone Roman column, or that further work would eventually lead to an entire colonnade of 19 such columns, subsequently to be understood as the eastern edge of the town’s forum. This dramatic discovery is worthy of a blog post in itself at some point in the future (I use a photograph of it as the header image for this blog), but here I want to focus on just one rather unusual object discovered during the excavations – a ceramic mould depicting a side-on female portrait. Continue reading


A rare example of painted Latin writing from Greetwell villa

The majority of the Latin encountered in Romano-British archaeology is in the form of formal inscriptions on stone – building dedications, tombstones, altars and such. Other writing survives on small finds, such as potters’ names stamped on vessels, personal names scratched onto metal objects or ceramics or as prayers or curses written on metal sheets. Very rarely, wooden writing tablets sometimes survive, such as the famous assemblage from Vindolanda and the increasing number known from London. One other category of writing, but not a common one, is messages written on painted plaster walls. Continue reading

Damned memory? Evidence for imperial statuary from Lincoln

Lincoln does not, on current evidence, have the direct connections with Roman imperial power that some other Romano-British towns do. For example, Colchester saw the arrival of Claudius (AD41-54), and York as the northern legionary base has links with Septimius Severus (AD193-211) and Constantine I (AD306-337). Lincoln, does, however, have an interesting body of evidence for public statuary which may well be imperial in nature, some of which has come from very recent finds. Evidence of such statuary is particularly rare in Britain, not least because statues depicting emperors, gods and prominent citizens are most likely to have been in bronze, rather than marble, and therefore very easily recycled. Continue reading

Roman Lincolnshire in the British Museum

The British Museum contains a number of Romano-British objects discovered in Lincolnshire. Some of these form an important part of the museum’s Roman Britain galleries and have been included in various publications, but others are generally less well known. This post aims to briefly highlight some of the more significant and interesting of these objects. Continue reading

Stories from stones – Roman gems lecture

Its been an excellent week for Roman lectures here in Lincoln, with the Lincolnshire Archaeology Day at the weekend, and now Dr Ian Marshman’s excellent lecture to the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology. Speaking on the subject of Roman signet rings and their intaglios, Ian took his audience on a fascinating and enthusiastic journey through the function, subject matter and antiquarian interest in these smallest of artistic depictions.

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