Conservator Luisa Duarte cleaning a Romano-British sculpture of an eagle and serpent
Image credit Andy Chopping. Museum of London Archaeology/PA
Maev Kennedy, writing in The Guardian yesterday, reports on a Romano-British sculpture recently unearthed in the City of London by archaeologists from the Museum of London.
A superb Roman eagle in near pristine condition, serpent prey wriggling in its beak, has been found by archaeologists in the City of London. A symbol of immortality and power, it was carefully preserved when the aristocratic tomb it decorated was smashed up more than 1,800 years ago – and is regarded as one of the best pieces of Romano-British art ever found.
The preservation is so startling that the archaeologists who found it a few weeks ago at the bottom of a ditch, on the last day of an excavation on a development site at the Minories, were worried in case they had unearthed a Victorian garden ornament.
Excitement spread as it became clear from the context that it really was Roman – but carved in Britain, from Cotswold limestone. Archaeologists are itching to research it further but first after a quick clean – and a frame to support the only damage, a broken wing – it is going on display for six months at the Museum of London, just 30 days from ditch to gallery.