A tiny figurine found by archaeologists at the proposed parking lot site may provide a unique insight into the hairstyles popular among native men of Roman-era Britain, with mustaches and mullets, with neat back and sides, like hair cutting. day.
The 5cm tall copper alloy figure was found in 2018 during excavation work at the National Trust Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire, and experts say the discovery gives us a rare glimpse into the appearance of ordinary Britons or their imaginary gods.
Shannon Hogan, a National Trust archaeologist for the East of England, told The Guardian that the figure was originally thought to be a Celtic deity, but now experts believe it could “very well reflect the face of an average man.”
She said: “We have very few visual or written representations from the Romans of what the natives looked like, so it’s tempting to say it was designed based on how people looked or what the current styles or trends were back then.” .
Hogan added that his stylish haircut, featuring what appears to be a mullet, could have been influenced by the limitations of the manufacturing process, but experts believe the decision to include or exclude certain elements, such as a beard, was deliberate.
“They could have put a beard there, that could have been done quite easily, but they haven’t, so it might as well reflect some kind of average man’s face,” he said.
The figure was one of 300 objects found during the excavation, which took place on the site of a new planned parking lot, and originally it would have been attached to a spatula used to mix medicines or clean wax tablets used for writing.
Archaeologists are still not sure if the figure, which dates back to the 1st century AD, is Roman or Celtic, but theories include that it could be a Celtic deity that bears no recorded resemblance.
“He has not been compared to any particular Celtic deity that we know of, but there are some who do not have visual representations,” Hogan said. “So it could be a deity, or it could just be an anthropomorphic piece of the tool that it was a part of.”
The site of Wimpole revealed the changing use of the land over hundreds of years as it moved from livestock management to large enclosures and eventually to a later Roman settlement that focused on agricultural production.
The settlement may have been at the center of an established commercial network. Other items found on the site include Roman military uniform accessories, coins, an ax head, cosmetic implements, horse harnesses, and brooches.
During the excavation, detectorists were brought in to search for artifacts and they found the tiny figure in one of the large trenches that had been dug by the team from the National Trust and Oxford East Archeology.
Chris Thatcher of Oxford East Archeology said the figure offers a look at the “aesthetics and symbolism” of the time and is believed to be someone of influence and power due to the way it was depicted and the fact that he holds a torc, an open-ended metal neck ring that is a status symbol.
“The fact that they found it in a site with so much other evidence that it is a local center is wonderful and appropriate,” he added.
Hogan said the find is significant because it is still relatively rare to find objects that provide an idea of what local inhabitants looked like in Roman Britain. “We did not have the details. You couldn’t see the eyes, you couldn’t see the ears or the hair, you could see that it was holding what looked like a torc, ”Hogan said.
“He was this faceless person from the past, one of the unknown individuals of the unknown people who have left traces of archeology that we are now unearthing.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism