Monday, November 16, 2015

Pieces of Roman building reunited after 2,000 years

Two pieces from a Roman building sign destroyed 2000 years ago, possibly by the legendary Boudica, have been reunited thanks to a remarkable discovery made by the University of Reading. 

Fragments of inscribed marble [Credit: University of Reading] 

During the last season of excavating Silchester Roman Town in 2013, Reading archaeologists found a fragment of stone inscribed with the letters ‘ba'. Expert analysis has now astonishingly revealed that this matches a piece with the letters ‘At' which was found at Silchester in 1891, and is now part of Reading Museum's Silchester Collection. 

Together these read At(e)ba(tum) -  'of the Atrebates' - the French tribe who likely founded Silchester in 1st Century BC.  The two pieces were found approximately ten metres apart in the SE quarter of Insula III, a block of the Roman Town. They are probably from a slab of marble from Purbeck in Dorset, which was either a sign commemorating the construction of a significant building, or a dedication to a deity.

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