The Woodchester mosaic is first record in Camden’s Britannia (1695). It was partially unearthed in 1772 by Edmund Browne who made drawings of the remains. Samuel Lysons (bap. 1763–d. 1819) [ODNB] made more detailed recordings in 1794 and published a coloured drawing in 1796.
Lysons presented a small fragment of the mosaic to the British Museum in 1808.
Lysons was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1786, and Director of the Society from 1798 to 1809. He also undertook work at Bignor.
The mosaic from Thruxton in north-west Hampshire was discovered in 1823 and was presented to the British Museum in 1899 [catalogue]. John Lickman’s engraving of the mosaic from the time of the discovery showed that the central roundel contained an image of Bacchus seated on a feline. This was subsequently lost through plough damage.
In the corners of the mosaic were the four seasons. An inscription appears at the top containing a name: Quintus Natalius Natalinus et Bodeni. A further line of text is known from the bottom end of the mosaic although only two letters could be read.
The mosaic appears to come from a villa, and it probably should be dated to the period 250–350.
Further information: Martin Henig & Grahame Soffe, ‘The Thruxton Roman Villa and Its Mosaic Pavement’, Journal of the British Archaeological Association 146, 1 (1993), 1-28.
The 2016 figures are available for Leading Visitor Attractions in the UK (ALVA). The top attraction remains the British Museum with 6,420,395 visitors. The National Gallery is in second place with 6,262,839 visitors.
Two parts of the inscription from this funerary monument of Classicianus were found reused in the bastion of the Roman wall just to the north of the Tower of London in 1852 and 1935 (RIB 12). The bolster from the top of the tomb was found in the same location. This suggests that the monument was erected on the eastern side of the Roman settlement. The Roman wall dates to the 3rd century AD.
G. Iulius Alpinus Classicianus is described as the procurator of the Roman province of Britannia. He was appointed in AD 61, as a successor to Catus Decianus, in the wake of the revolt by Boudicca (Tacitus Annals xiv.38). Classicianus seems to have originated in Gaul. It appears that he died in office.
The monument was erected by Classicianus’ wife Iulia Pacata, daughter of Indus. Julius Indus is noted as a key person who countered the revolt of the Treveri in AD 21 (Tacitus Annals iii.42).
A revised reconstruction of the tomb and reconstruction is presented by Grasby and Tomlin.
Hawkes, C. F. C. “The Sepulchral Monument of Julius Classicianus.” The British Museum Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 2, 1935, pp. 53–56., www.jstor.org/stable/4421794.
Grasby, R. D., and R. S. O. Tomlin. “The Sepulchral Monument of the Procurator C. Julius Classicianus.” Britannia, vol. 33, 2002, pp. 43–75., www.jstor.org/stable/1558852.
The temple of Athena Polias dominates the lower part of the city of Priene. The Ionic temple was reported to have been designed by the architect Pytheos who was associated with the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos. The naos itself measured 100 Attic feet.
The south anta of the temple carried an inscription recording the benefaction of the temple: King Alexander | dedicated the naos | to Athena Polias. The inscription was recovered by the members of the Society of the Dilettanti during their sponsored excavation of the city in 1869-70. This was then presented to the British Museum in 1870 (see online details). The adjacent blocks were used to record other benefactions from Alexander and other civic records.
The inscription suggests that the benefaction should date to c. 334 BC, following the campaigns of Alexander in western Anatolia.
One of the pieces of evidence for the 9th legion stationed in Lincoln comes from the funerary marker of Gaius Saufeius, son of Gaius (RIB 255). The absence of the cognomen should be noted. He died aged 40 and after 22 years of service. He came from Heraclea, in Macedonia.
The tombstone was found in 1865 at the corner of Salthouse Lane. John Parkinson sold it to the British Museum in 1873 (inv. 1873.05-21.1).
The 9th legion appears to have been replaced at Lincoln around AD 71, and then moved north to York.
It is the 200th Anniversary of the Parliamentary Vote that led to the Parthenon Marbles forming part of the British Museum (see Looting Matters). The Parthenon forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Athenian Acropolis. Yet the architectural sculptures are displayed in London. Is it time to display the sculptures in sight of the temple for which they were created?
In March 2016 the Department for Transport announced a £1 million fund to make it easier to travel by rail. Minister Claire Perry MP has spoken about the ‘great ideas’ that had been put forward.
A group of us proposed a project, ‘Travel Back in Time with King Raedwald’. This will involve using proximity prompts to encourage visitors to move from viewing the Sutton Hoo finds in the British Museum, the UK’s top tourist attraction (see here), to the find-spot in Suffolk. The app will provide information about how to get to Liverpool Street, how to buy tickets, where to change (at Ipswich), and where to alight (Woodbridge or Melton). It will then have further details of where to buy food and coffee, and how to walk (or find other transport) from the station.
Minister Claire Perry MP announced the winners yesterday (“Rail tourism winners announced“, 25 May 2016). The competition “offers grants to rail operators for innovative ideas and trials and is aimed particularly at heritage railways and community rail partnerships. It hopes to encourage more tourists and make it easier to explore the UK by rail.”
‘Travel Back in Time with King Raedwald’ was one of the 17 winners and the team members are looking forward to delivering the project over the next year.
Claire Perry MP commented: “We want to show the best of British to our visitors and Heritage and Community Railways are part of that package. I am delighted that this project is one of 17 national winners across Britain. I look forward to seeing the scheme develop, providing another great reason to visit Suffolk.”
I can remember my first visit to Sicily as an undergraduate to see the temples at Agrigento. The experience was overwhelming as I viewed some of the best preserved Greek colonial temples.
The British Museum’s latest temporary exhibition, Sicily: Culture and Conquest, captures some of history using items from the permanent collections as well as loan materials. Some of the photograph is stunning, placing the objects back in their Sicilian landscapes. I have been to the exhibition twice in the last few weeks, and on the second time was able to observe fresh details.
There are five main themes:
Peoples of Sicily
The Rise of the Tyrants
Age of Conquest
An Enlightened Kingdom
The lavish catalogue goes well beyond the exhibition.
A Latin inscription, cut on sandstone, was found at the site of the Roman fort at Moresby in Cumbria during the construction of the church there in 1822 (RIB 801). The inscription was then displayed at Lowther Castle near Penrith, the home of the Earls of Lonsdale. The inscription was sold at Sotheby’s (London) on 1 December 1969 and it was acquired by the British Museum in 1970 (inv. 1970,0102.2).
The findspot suggests that the inscription was displayed over the east gate of the fort. The inscription is dated to the reign of the emperor Hadrian (between 128 and 138), and records the work of the 20th Valeria Victrix Legion.
Moresby is located 8 km north of St Bees’ Head and served as one of the forts defending the Cumbrian coast as part of the extension to the fixed frontier of Hadrian’s Wall. It was possibly known as Gabrosentum.