10 ‘incredible’ Roman sculptures unearthed in Cornwall

Image copyright AEC Image caption Site archaeologist Gavin Sweeney is to work with the Roman legionaries in developing the project Ten “incredible” Roman sculptures have been unearthed in Cornwall. They are 2,500 years old…

10 'incredible' Roman sculptures unearthed in Cornwall

Image copyright AEC Image caption Site archaeologist Gavin Sweeney is to work with the Roman legionaries in developing the project

Ten “incredible” Roman sculptures have been unearthed in Cornwall.

They are 2,500 years old and believed to have been commissioned to mark the centenary of Emperor Claudius I’s death.

The objects, believed to be carved by hand, are part of an upcoming archaeological dig at Hodder Castle, near St Austell.

Archeological excavations led by the Roman legionaries are planned with the aim of capturing the sculpture masterpieces of antiquity.

Image copyright AEC Image caption Archaeologists hope to work closely with the Roman legionaries

Site archaeologist Gavin Sweeney said the finds – made during construction work at the castle – were “extraordinary” and had already spiced up the early hours of the morning.

“One of the discoveries was some kind of fabric figure, roughly the size of a fridge,” he said.

“The other was something like a jovial figure, which is perfectly capable of being repeated hundreds of times.”

Mr Sweeney added: “These are fantastic finds.

“The reason for their choosing this site – for the centenary of Emperor Claudius’s death – was not very clear, and most likely was to commemorate the demise of a great power in such a public space.”

Image copyright AEC Image caption Archaeologists discovered the ancient sculptures in construction work at Hodder Castle, near St Austell

He told BBC World Service’s The Last Stand with Christian Smith he hoped to work with the Roman legionaries to “define exactly” what the sculptures were.

The team also hopes to find more Roman sculptures, perhaps from Brunel’s giant statue in Southampton, as well as items of Roman-era Roman bronze weapons.

The dig is being led by Bardsey Landscapes, and is part of the Cornwall Archaeological Trust’s Archaeological Heritage Initiative (AHI).

Image copyright Bardsey Landscapes Image caption Archaeologists hope to discover more sculptures, possibly from Brunel’s giant statue in Southampton

“As we all know, Cornwall is full of Roman sites – from the necropolis in St Austell to the Roman village of Berrelle, St Austell, Redruth and the raft of other towns, villages and environs,” said Brendon Stanford, AHA’s spokeswoman.

“This dig is aimed at connecting these sites to the ‘West Country Roman life’ that mythology has dwelt upon for so long.

“The recent discovery of a looted Roman pediment at Berrelle puts a modern-day shine on the myth of a buried monarch revered by his army. This discovery is a reminder that ‘Caesar’s throne’ is still open for exploration.

“Although a deep history of occupation and adventure is set within this province, this year is a special opportunity to connect with Cornwall’s past, and create a much richer, fuller and fuller story to be collected and spread across the region,” she added.

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