Yesterday (10 April) the CA editorial team were lucky enough to be invited to visit an ongoing excavation at Bloomberg Place, where the Temple of Mithras was found in the 1950s, and where MOLA archaeologists today are uncovering the staggeringly well-preserved remains of a 2,000-year-old street.
Located beside the Walbrook River, waterlogged conditions have allowed the rare survival of timber building platforms and leather objects (including over 100 shoes), as well as wooden writing tablets and the largest collection of ‘fist and phallus’ amulets ever found on a single site.
With just 6 weeks to go until the end of the project, this site clearly has so much to tell us about life in Roman London. Analysis of the thousands of finds is already underway and we will be bringing you the full story in a future issue of CA – but in the meantime, here are some pictures of some of the star finds, and watch out for our report on a mysterious leather panel decorated with mythical scenes, which you’ll find in the news section of CA 279.
The excavation has also revealed new pieces of London’s Mithraeum – as we reported in CA 266.
To read more about the amber gladiator amulet, see our article from CA 274.
Fragment from a letter written in ink on a wood writing tablet. Tablets of this sort were used for everyday correspondence and contain fascinating fragments of information about Roman life from hopping lists to party invitations. Image: MOLA
Bone fist and phallus amulet. Both the phallus and the hand making a â€˜manu ficu’ an obscene gesture were considered to be symbols of good luck by the Romans used for warding off the evil eye Image: MOLA
Oil lamp depicting a stag. Image: MOLA
Well-preserved leather carbatina shoe. Image: MOLA
Lead or tin plaque depicting a bull. This could be a representation of the zodiac symbol Taurus. Image: MOLA
Amber amulet in the shape of a gladiator’s helmet. Amber was an expensive imported material and was thought to have magical powers. The Roman author Pliny describes how amber amulets could protect children from illness and the symbolism of the gladiator may also be protective Image: MOLA