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Roman Britain: New Findings & Discoveries.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 06-12-2006 18:52    Post subject: Roman Britain: New Findings & Discoveries. Reply with quote

Quote:
Roman "Curse Tablet" Discovered in England
Kate Ravilious
for National Geographic News

December 5, 2006
Archaeologists in Leicester, England, have recently uncovered a treasure trove of Roman and medieval artifacts, including a 1,700-year-old Roman "curse tablet."

Curse tablets were metal scrolls on which ancient Romans wrote spells to exact revenge for misdeeds, often thefts of money, clothing, or animals.



Such tablets have been discovered previously in Britain, often near ancient Roman temple sites, but this is the first one to be found in Leicester (see United Kingdom map).

The Leicester tablet, which was uncovered near the ruins of a large Roman townhouse dating from the second century A.D., was found unrolled. Curse tablets were typically rolled up and nailed to posts inside temples or shrines.

The newfound tablet appears to have been written by, or on behalf of, a man named Servandus, whose cloak had been stolen.

The writer inscribed a curse into a sheet of lead, asking the god Maglus to destroy the thief.

Measuring around 8 inches (20 centimeters) long and 3 inches (7 centimeters) wide, the tablet reads:

"To the god Maglus, I give the wrongdoer who stole the cloak of Servandus. Silvester, Roimandus … that he destroy him before the ninth day, the person who stole the cloak of Servandus …" A list of the names of 18 or 19 suspects follows.

Richard Buckley, co-director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services, which is conducting the excavation, said the discovery provides crucial clues about life in Roman Britain. The names on the lead sheet are of particular interest, he noted.

"Some of [the names] are Celtic, and some are Roman. It helps us to understand the cultural makeup of the population," he said.

The tablets are thought to have been issued by ordinary people, rather than the wealthy, Buckley added, which helps explain why a missing garment called for action from the gods.

"If a cloak is all that you have, then it is pretty important," he said.
The excavations are part of a major dig involving a team of 60 archaeologists from the University of Leicester.




Over the last three years nearly 10 percent of the city center has been excavated prior to the construction of new commercial and residential development.

The dig has produced a wealth of artifacts from the period when the Roman Empire ruled Britain, from about A.D. 43 to 410.

In addition to Servandus' curse tablet, the Roman townhouse excavation has produced another curse tablet that has yet to be translated, along with thousands of shards of pottery, Roman weighing scales, coins, brooches, gaming pieces, animal bone, and hairpins.

At other sites in the city the archaeologists have uncovered medieval churches dating from the 11th to the 16th centuries, as well as graveyards with more than 1,600 burial sites.

The archaeologists also found a medieval street frontage of four properties, one of which had evidence of a brewery in its backyard.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/12/061205-roman-curse.html



Last edited by ramonmercado on 05-02-2007 17:29; edited 1 time in total
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synchronicityOffline
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PostPosted: 15-12-2006 08:15    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting this, it's fascinating!

But who--or what--is Maglus??? confused I know that the Romans and other pagans worshipped a large number of gods and goddesses, but Maglus is a new name for me! Shocked

I wonder if Maglus is perhaps a Celtic god (or goddess)?

Anyone got any ideas who this Maglus character is?

And I'm miffed at a few people at present--do you suppose if I "offered" them to Maglus that he could settle a few scores for me?? Mr. Green
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PostPosted: 05-02-2007 17:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Lost roman settlements found

Roman and Iron age settlements have been discovered by chance during developments on a major road in North Yorkshire. Archaeologists, called to the site at the A66, found the remains of a Roundhouse together with square buildings, ditches and pits near the Melsonby crosrsroads. The A66 follows the route of a Roman road dating to the first century AD. It is thought that these finds might be related to a larger settlement on the other side of the road. "It's fantastic that we've been able to uncover all these settlements and artefacts ahead of these schemes.” Said Highways Agency project manager Lynne Biddles “We can now piece together the history of this area and preserve it for the wider community to enjoy."

(January 31st)
Charlie Cottrell

http://www.historytoday.com/dt_article_subgrouplist.asp?gid=30039
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PostPosted: 05-02-2007 19:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

synchronicity wrote:
Quote:
wonder if Maglus is perhaps a Celtic god (or goddess)?

Anyone got any ideas who this Maglus character is?


Interesting, this one!

From here
http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/manxnb/v10p061.htm

Quote:
...What remains of the inscription reads Cunuamagli ma ... , thus:-

[pic of cuniform representation of Cunamaglima]

The letters ma are followed by parts of two of the digits for q, and the whole word was, doubtless, maqi, the ancient genitive of the word for 'son,' and this, in its turn, was followed by the name of the father or the mother of the person whose grave the stone served to mark. Now Cunamagli is easy to identify: I mean the name. not the person bearing it, for I have no notion who he was. Cunamagli, then, as a name is a genitive of the second declension, if I may be allowed to borrow an old-fashioned term of Latin grammar; and if it occurred in Roman capitals in Wales or Cornwall, it would be found written Cunomagli. The genitive actually occurs in the somewhat later form Conomagli, in the life of a Breton Saint, which mentions a man called Maglus Conomagli filius.-* Then we have the still later form Conmægl, given in the Saxon Chronicle, as the name of one of the Welch kings vanquished by Ceawlin, at the battle of Deorham, in the year 577. In modern Welch the name is reduced to Cynfael, and sometimes to Cynfal. Its corresponding late Irish forms are Conmal and Coitmhal: Etymologically it was entitled to have its a marked long (written á ) in compensation for the elided guttural. Similarly the simple Maglus is represented in Irish by Mál, which is said to have meant a prince or hero.


When on considers
Quote:
...The inscription is currently being translated by a specialist at the University of Oxford. He notes that the Latin of the script reflects the spoken language in several ways. There are 18 or 19 names, a mixture of commonplace Roman (like Silvester and Germanus), Celtic (like Riomandus and Cunovendus), and 'Roman' names found in Celtic-speaking provinces (like Regalis). The god's name might be a title - 'prince' in Celtic.


I think 'Maglus' is a regional (dialectical, if you will) form for the newish 'God', Jesus Christ - or maybe Magdalen even Question

on another point

Quote:
Proto-IE: *meg'a- (/ *meg'ha-)

Nostratic etymology:

Meaning: big, great

...

Celtic: Gaul Magio-rīx, Are-magios, etc., dat. sg. Magalu (Göttername), Magalus PN, dat. sg. Maglo (Götter- und Personnenname); OIr sup. maissiu `maximus'; MIr maignech `gross' (?); maige `gross' (?), Poimp Maige `Pompeius Magnus'; mag-lord `Keule' < *mago-lorgā `grosser Knüttel', māl `Edler, Vornehmer, Fürst, König', mass `stattlich' (< *maksos); Cymr Macl-gwn, OBret Maglo-cune, Cono-maglus


from http://starling.rinet.ru/cgi-bin/etymology.cgi?single=1&basename=/data/ie/germet&text_number=+500&root=config

Maybe 'Maglus' was just some local big fat bloke who liked giving people a smack.
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 14-02-2007 11:29    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Coin shows Cleopatra's ugly truth

The images of Antony and Cleopatra are less than flattering
Antony and Cleopatra, one of history's most romantic couples, were not the great beauties that Hollywood would have us believe, academics have said.
A study of a 2,000-year-old silver coin found the Egyptian queen, famously portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, had a pointed chin, thin lips and sharp nose.

Her Roman lover, played by Richard Burton, had bulging eyes, thick neck and a hook nose.

The tiny coin was studied by experts at Newcastle University.

The size of a modern 5p piece, the artefact from 32BC was in a collection belonging to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, which is being researched in preparation for the opening of a new Great North Museum.

The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful seductress is a more recent image

Lindsay Allason-Jones, Newcastle University

Clare Pickersgill, the university's assistant director of archaeological museums, said: "The popular image we have of Cleopatra is that of a beautiful queen who was adored by Roman politicians and generals.

"Recent research would seem to disagree with this portrayal, however."

The university's director of archaeological museums, Lindsay Allason-Jones, said: "The image on the coin is far from being that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

"Roman writers tell us that Cleopatra was intelligent and charismatic, and that she had a seductive voice but, tellingly, they do not mention her beauty.


The Hollywood couple may have perpetrated a Hollywood myth

"The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful seductress is a more recent image."

The silver denarius coin would have been issued by the mint of Mark Antony.

On one side is the head of Mark Antony, bearing the caption "Antoni Armenia devicta" meaning "For Antony, Armenia having been vanquished".

Cleopatra appears on the reverse of the coin with the inscription "Cleopatra Reginae regum filiorumque regum", meaning "For Cleopatra, Queen of kings and of the children of kings".

The university hopes more forgotten treasures will come to light before the Great North Museum opens in 2009.

The Roman coin is on display in Newcastle University's Shefton Museum from 14 February.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/tyne/6357311.stm
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PostPosted: 14-02-2007 18:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

They had a great sense of humour, though.
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PostPosted: 27-02-2007 14:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Recycling in medieval times


One of the star exhibits at the British Museum has offered up clues to the recycling practices of medieval craftsmen. Investigations on the thirteenth century reliquary of St Eustace have revealed that the majority of gems decorating the artefact were carved from re-used pieces of Roman glass.

Louise Joyner and Ian Freestone of Cardiff University’s School of History and Archaeology used Raman microspectroscopy and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry to examine the ancient stones without causing them any damage or removing them from their settings. Their investigation showed that five of the gems decorating the reliquary, (a container constructed to hold holy relics) could be dated to the Roman period whilst two further gems appeared to be recycled from a different period. Only one glass stone was found to have medieval glass composition.

Together with British Museum curator James Robinson, Joyner and Freestone found that coloured glass gemstones were used widely in place of natural gemstones. “The glass used for these gemstones was found to be mainly of a Roman composition indicating that glass about 1000 years old was reused to make these coloured glass gems.” Said Dr Joyner. The reliquary is formed of two parts; a wooden carving in the shape of a man’s head in which fragments of a skull, thought to be that of St Eustace, were kept.

The second part is a metal crown of silver gilt onto which the colourful gemstones are set. St Eustace was a general under the Roman Emperor Trajan who converted to Christianity after seeing a vision of a stag with a luminous crucifix between its antlers whilst out hunting on Good Friday. The report Crowning glory: the identification of gems on the head reliquary of St Eustace from the Basle Cathedral Treasury is published in the latest issue of Journal of Gemmology. (February 26th)

Charlie Cottrell

Roman
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PostPosted: 10-03-2007 09:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Roman settlement found next to 'devil's hill'
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 1:55am GMT 10/03/2007

Evidence of a Roman sacred site has been discovered at the foot of a man-made hill created thousands of years before the Romans arrived in Britain, it was announced yesterday.

English Heritage called the uncovering of the settlement a "startling discovery", and all the more so because it lies next to 5,000-year-old Silbury hill, which at 130ft is Europe's largest man-made prehistoric monument.

The original purpose and use of the Neolithic hill, which took an estimated 20 million man hours to make, still mystifies archaeologists.

Yesterday's disclosure indicates that a Roman community was equally taken with the Wiltshire hill and established a sacred settlement in its shadow, some 3,000 years after it was created.

The discovery of a settlement the size of 24 football pitches is "quite unexpected" said Dr Amanda Chadburn, an English Heritage archaeologist and team leader. "Although there were hints - the odd Roman coin kicking around - that the Romans were doing something around there we did not know what. This is an important Roman settlement."

The site straddled the Roman road from London to Bath where it crossed the Winterbourne River.

But it was more than just a way station for weary travellers. The Romans were as intrigued by Silbury as people are today, and there is even a tantalising hint of a temple.

"There are a lot of legends about it being built by the devil and you wonder what the Romans thought about it," said Dr Chadburn.

http://tinyurl.com/2kafzn
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PostPosted: 17-09-2008 11:05    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Roman York skeleton could be early TB victim

The skeleton of a man discovered by archaeologists in a shallow grave on the site of the University of York's campus expansion could be that of one of Britain's earliest victims of tuberculosis. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the man died in the fourth century. He was interred in a shallow scoop in a flexed position, on his left side.


The man, aged 26-35 years, suffered from iron deficiency anaemia during childhood and at 162 centimetres (5ft 4in), was a shorter height than average for Roman males.

The first known case of TB in Britain is from the Iron Age (300 BC) but cases in the Roman period are fairly rare, and largely confined to the southern half of England. TB is most frequent from the 12th century AD in England when people were living in urban environments. So the skeleton may provide crucial evidence for the origin and development of the disease in this country.

The remains were discovered during archaeological investigations on the site of the University's £500 million expansion at Heslington East. Archaeologists unearthed the skeleton close to the perimeter of the remains of a late-Roman masonry building discovered on the site, close to the route of an old Roman road between York and Barton-on-Humber.

The burial site is on part of the campus that will not be built on. The University is developing plans for community archaeology and education visits once the investigations are complete.

Detailed analysis of the skeleton by Malin Holst, of York Osteoarchaeology Ltd, revealed that a likely cause of death was tuberculosis which affected the man's spine and pelvis. She says that it is possible that he contracted the disease as a child from infected meat or milk from cattle, but equally the infection could have been inhaled into the lungs. The disease then lay dormant until adulthood when the secondary phase of the disease took its toll.

Heslington East Fieldwork Officer Cath Neal, of the University's Department of Archaeology, said: "This was a remarkable find and detailed study of this skeleton will provide us with important clues about the emergence of tuberculosis in late-Roman Britain, but also information about what life was like in York more than 1,500 years ago.

"A burial such as this, close to living quarters, is unusual for this period when most burials were in formal cemeteries. It is possible that the man was buried here because the tuberculosis infection was so rare at the time, and people were reluctant to transport the body any distance."

Malin Holst added: "There were signs of muscular trauma and strong muscle attachments indicating that the individual undertook repeated physical activity while he was in good health. There was some intensive wear and chipping on his front teeth which may have been the result of repeated or habitual activity. There was evidence for infection of the bone in both lower limbs but this appeared to be healing at death."

Investigation of the remains is continuing -- Professor Charlotte Roberts, of Durham University, with Professor Terry Brown at Manchester University, is now studying DNA from the skeleton as part of National Environmental Research Council funded research into the origin, evolution and spread of the bacteria that causes TB in Britain and parts of Europe.

Source: University of York

http://www.physorg.com/printnews.php?newsid=140777345
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PostPosted: 30-10-2008 13:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

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'Exceptional' Roman coins hoard

One of the largest deposits of Roman coins ever recorded in Wales, has been declared treasure trove.

Nearly 6,000 copper alloy coins were found buried in two pots in a field at Sully, Vale of Glamorgan by a local metal detector enthusiast in April.

After the ruling by the Cardiff coroner, a reward is likely to be paid to the finder and landowner.

It is hoped the coins will be donated to National Museum Wales, which has called the find "exceptional".

Two separate hoards were found by the metal detectorist on successive days, one involving 2,366 coins and the other 3,547 coins, 3m away.

The 1,700-year-old coins dated from the reigns of numerous emperors, notably Constantine I (the Great, AD 307-37), during whose time Christianity was first recognised as a state religion.

Edward Besly, the museum's coin specialist called it an "exceptional find".

He said: "The coins provide further evidence for local wealth at the time. They also reflect the complex imperial politics of the early fourth century."

'Time of danger'

It is thought the two hoards were buried by the same person, possibly two years apart. A similar find was uncovered in the area in 1899.

"There was quite a bit of Roman activity in the area at the time, southwards from Cardiff Castle, where there was a Roman fort, to the Knap at Barry where there was an administrative building and there were farms in the Sully area," said Mr Besly.

"There's a human story there somewhere but it's intangible, we can't really get to it but certainly somebody buried two pots of coins."

"It could have been they were buried for safe keeping, possibly at a time of danger."

It is hoped the coins will be given over to the museum for further study and to go on public display.

Also declared treasure by the coroner were two bronze axes from Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan.

Discovered in June 2008, they were buried together as a small hoard. The two complete bronze socketed axes have ribbed decoration and are examples of the south Wales type, dating to the late bronze age (1000-800 BC).

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/wales/south_east/7699953.stm
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PostPosted: 15-09-2009 12:50    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Skeleton found at Roman town dig
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/norfolk/8256420.stm

The male skeleton was found lying on its back with its hand tied behind its back
A complete skeleton dating from the 4th Century has been unearthed by archaeologists in Norfolk.

The buried Roman town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund is being excavated to find out whether there is a much older settlement on the site.

The male skeleton was found in a pit lying on its side with its hands tied behind its back and the legs folded so the body could fit in the space.

The skeleton has been removed for tests on the bones to be carried out.

Questions answered

Professor Will Bowden, who is leading the dig, said finding the bones would give them an indication of the status and social class of the inhabitants of the area.

"Once we begin to look at the bones and start to analyse them, we'll be able to start answering questions about the diet of this person, where they actually came from... what they were eating and what sort of lifestyle they actually had."

Excavations at the buried town were first carried out in 1929, after the site was found by aerial photographs.

A geophysical survey was carried out two years ago, which showed possible prehistoric features beneath the town.

Archaeologists believe the town was built on top of a settlement from the Iceni tribe.

The excavations are open to the public, free of charge, until 19 September.

The site is owned by the Norfolk Archaeological Trust and managed by South Norfolk Council.

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PostPosted: 16-09-2009 15:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Hoard of 10,000 Roman coins found
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/shropshire/8258349.stm

The coins were found in a large storage jar
At least 10,000 coins believed to be from the Roman era have been uncovered in Shropshire.

Officials from Shropshire Council's Museum Service said the coins, thought to be from 320 AD to 340 AD, were found in a large storage jar.

They said the haul, found by an amateur treasure hunter, had been sent to experts in London to examine.

Councillor Stephen Charmley said it was the largest coin hoard to be found in the county in modern times.

The coins, which weigh more than 70lb (32kg), are thought to have been produced during the reign of Emperor Constantine.

They are all bronze and some have been silver washed.

Council chiefs said it was difficult to estimate the coins' value as they said there had been no comparable finds of that size.

A full report on the find will be compiled after the coins are examined by the experts.

Mr Charmley said he hoped the museum service would acquire the coins and put them on display in the new Shrewsbury Museum.

The council has not revealed where in the county the coins were found.

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PostPosted: 02-10-2009 13:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

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UK dig finds Roman amphitheatre
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8283195.stm



British archaeologists have unearthed an amphitheatre at a ancient port outside Rome which may have played host to emperors such as Hadrian and Trajan.

The team, led by the University of Southampton, say the arena could have held up to 2,000 people and been used for gladiator games or animal baiting.

It was found inside a gigantic imperial-style palace within the well-preserved old harbour of Portus.

Experts said the entire site deserved greater recognition.

The excavation team, which also included archaeologists from Cambridge University, has spent two years at Portus, about 20 miles (32km) from the Italian capital.

They worked in collaboration with the British School at Rome on the first large-scale dig at Portus.

The ancient gateway to the Mediterranean Sea, which is twice the size of the port of Southampton, supplied the centre of the Roman Empire with food, slaves, wild animals and building materials for hundreds of years.

It is now two miles inland and next to Fiumicino Airport's runway.

'Strictly private'

The project concentrated on the banks of a hexagonal-shaped man-made lake which formed part of the 2nd Century harbour.

This area was first excavated in the 1860s and what might have been a theatre was discovered and marked on plans, but no trace of the building could subsequently be found.


The site has been known about since the 16th century but it has never ever been given the importance it deserves

Prof Simon Keay
The British team has now discovered an oval-shaped theatre - similar in size to the Pantheon in Rome.

Professor Simon Keay, director of the Portus Project, said the theatre was tucked away at the eastern end of the palace.

"Its design, using luxurious materials and substantial colonnades, suggests it was used by a high status official, possibly even the emperor himself, and the activities that took place there were strictly private," he said.

"It could have been games or gladiatorial combat, wild beast baiting or the staging of mock sea battles but we really do not know.

"What we do know is it's unusual to find this type of building with elements of imperial architecture so close to a harbour."

'Wonder of the world'

In addition to the amphitheatre and 295ft (90m) canal, the archaeologists have made thousands of smaller finds.

The project aims to answer a number of questions about the development of Portus and its relationship to the nearby but better known Ostia, the ancient port of Rome built on the banks of the River Tiber.

"It's going to generate a lot of rethinking about how ports were used and that will change the way we think about Rome's relationship with the Mediterranean," said Prof Keay.

"The site has been known about since the 16th century but it has never been given the importance it deserves. It has been grossly understudied."

He claims it is "one of the most important archaeological sites in the world" and should be rated alongside "such wonders as "Stonehenge and Angkor Wat in Cambodia".

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PostPosted: 30-01-2010 15:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Hallaton Roman coin is 'oldest found in Britain'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/leicestershire/8487870.stm

Roman silver coin dating from 211 BC and found near the Leicestershire village of Hallaton
The coin may be evidence of early trade links

A silver coin dug up as part of a hoard is the oldest piece of Roman money found in Britain, experts believe.

The coin, which has been dated to 221BC, was found near Hallaton in Leicestershire with 5,000 other coins, a helmet and decorated bowl.

Uncovered by archaeologists in 2000, the coin's significance has just been recognised, the county council said.

It said the coin, which has the Goddess Roma on one side, was "something very special".

The other side depicts mythical twins Castor and Pollux sat on galloping horses.

Iron Age shrine

David Sprason, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: "Leicestershire boasts the largest number of Iron Age coins ever professionally excavated in Britain in the Hallaton Treasure.

"To also have the oldest Roman coin ever found is something very special."

The Hallaton coin is on display at Harborough Museum, Market Harborough, alongside other coins that were excavated at a late Iron Age shrine of the Corieltavi tribe dating to the first century AD.


It was minted in Rome at the time of the Hannibalic wars and here it is turning up after what must have been quite a long journey
Professor David Mattingly

Museum staff said it was a mystery as to how this coin came into the possession of the local Corieltavi tribe.

Some archaeologists have however speculated that such Roman Republican coins found their way into Britain before the Roman conquest in 43 AD and were evidence of exchange through trade or diplomacy.

Professor David Mattingly of the University of Leicester's School of Archaeology and Ancient History said: "This hoard has changed our view of just how significant the East Midlands were in this period and this coin is a good example.

"It indicates there was contact between this region and the Roman Empire despite the distance between the East Midlands and the parts of Britain the Romans arrived in, like Colchester and Chichester."

He added: "It was minted in Rome at the time of the Hannibalic wars and here it is turning up after what must have been quite a long journey."
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PostPosted: 31-01-2010 23:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.celtnet.org.uk/gods_m/magalus.html
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