Roman Sculpture Unearthed

Photograph -  ©MOLA/ Andy Chopping

During the archaeological study of a development site in the City, destined to become a 16 storey hotel, a remarkable sculpture was unearthed last year.  All sites in the City must undergo a period of examination before work that may destroy any historic remains can commence.  This is often carried out by the specialist arm of the Museum of London, MoLA.

On this occasion, the MoLA team were apparently reluctant to announce the find until it had been independently verified, as it is in such good condition.  Made from Oolitic Limestone from the Cotswolds, the piece depicts an eagle grasping a writhing serpent in its beak.  This common subject represents the triumph of good over evil.  It dates from the 1st or 2nd century AD and is likely to have originally been part of a mausoleum, displayed in an alcove - hence its good condition and lack of detail on the back.

The quality of the carving is some of the finest found anywhere in the UK - a real treasure.  A competition to name the eagle resulted in many humourous and serious entries - with the winner being "Clawdius Aquila".

On temporary loan from the developers, it can be seen at the Museum of London in London Wall until the end of April. For details click on this hyperlink.

John Wilson | 30/01/2014 00:00:00