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

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

Animal print tiles at Lincoln’s Eastern Bypass excavations

The excavations at Washingborough currently taking place as part of the construction of Lincoln’s eastern bypass have most definitely captured people’s imagination, and with good reason as the results are proving fascinating (see my earlier posts here and here). As part of the publicity surrounding the project, a ‘find of the week’ is being chosen by the excavators and published in the Lincolnshire Echo. This week’s highlight is a Roman object, in the form of a roof tile complete with a perfect paw print. Continue reading

Casting doubt on coinage: ceramic coin counterfeiting moulds from Lincolnshire

For as long as there have been coins there have been people willing to risk the, usually severe, penalties for counterfeiting them. Unofficial versions of Roman coinage are regularly found across the Roman Empire, sometimes the output of con-artists seeking to defraud, and sometimes products of necessity to counter a wider shortage of low value coinage. This latter type of counterfeiting was perhaps sanctioned by the authorities, or at least had a blind eye turned to it. Continue reading

For the public good? Euergetism in Roman Lincolnshire

Towns in the Roman Empire did not develop primarily through centralised state support. Although certain actions, such as the construction of defensive walls, may have required specific imperial permission and in some cases received official support from the provincial government or army in the form of money or manpower, most public structures relied instead on the benevolence of prominent local citizens. This act of giving one’s own resources to improve the communal urban environment is known as ‘euergetism’. Continue reading

A close scrape for Lincoln’s Newport Arch

Lincoln’s iconic Newport Arch, the 3rd Century northern gateway into the Roman city, famous for being the only Roman gateway in Britain still used by traffic, had a lucky escape today after being struck by a lorry. The incident serves to remind us of the potential cost of the pleasure of being able to drive under such an ancient entranceway. Continue reading