Eleusis in Cambridge

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Caryatid from Eleusis, Fitzwilliam Museum © David Gill

One of the caryatids from the Roman ‘lesser propylaia’ in the sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis was obtained by E.D. Clarke and now resides in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. It is currently part of an art installation by Hugo Dalton.

Another caryatid from the ‘lesser propylaia’ is now displayed in the Eleusis Museum. Both appeared in the documentary, ‘The Sacred Way‘, by Michael Wood (1991).

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Caryatid from Eleusis, Eleusis Museum © David Gill

The lesser Propylaia was a benefaction of Appius Claudius Pulcher.

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Lesser Propylaia, Eleusis © David Gill

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Dedicatory inscription, Lesser Propylaia, Eleusis © David Gill

Suffolk Museum of the Year Awards 2017

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Suffolk Museum of the Year 2017: National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art © David Gill

The Suffolk Museum of the Years Awards 2017 took place at the University of Suffolk last night. The awards, hosted by BBC Radio Suffolk’s Lesley Dolphin, were as follows:

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Suffolk Museum Object of the Year 2017, awarded by Lesley Dolphin © David Gill

Congratulations to the winners, short-listed museums and to all museums across Suffolk.

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Suffolk Museum of the Year 2017 © David Gill

Tom Potter, “Newmarket’s National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art named Suffolk Museum of the Year“, EADT 9 October 2017.

Dog and cat in the Kerameikos

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Athens, National Museum 3476 © David Gill

In 1922 the marble base of a kouros was found built into Themistoklean Wall in the Kerameikos in Athens. On the right hand side four youths watch as a god and a cat confront each other.

The sculpture is dated on the orthodox chronology to c. 510 BC.

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Athens, National Museum 3476 © David Gill

Trimontium

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Newstead Roman Fort (Trimontium) © David Gill

The Roman fort of Trimontium (Newstead) stands on the line of Dere Street. The site is marked by a Roman style ‘altar’ erected in 1928 by the Edinburgh Border Counties Association. A series of interpretation boards help visitors to make sense of the setting. The road that cut across the fort has now been closed to traffic and allows easy access.

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Newstead Roman Fort © David Gill

The Latin name is taken from the three hills, i.e. the Eildon Hills.

Small finds from the site are displayed in the museum at Melrose Abbey.

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Melrose Abbey Museum © David Gill

Leading Visitor Attractions for 2016

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British Museum © David Gill

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.

All attractions in the top 10 are in London.

Londinium: tombstone of Vivius Marcianus

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Vivius Marcianus, London © David Gill

The tombstone of Vivius Marcianus was found during the rebuilding of St Martin’s Church on Ludgate Hill in 1669 (RIB 17). (The church itself had been destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.) The gravestone was then placed in the Ashmolean Museum (that opened in 1683); it is now displayed in the Museum of London (since 1974). It is likely that this came from the cemetery outside (and to the west) of Ludgate.

Vivius Marcianus is described as a centurion of the II Augustan Legion. He is shown in the relief holding the centurion’s stick, vitis, in his right hand. The legion was based at Caerleon in south Wales. There is a possibility that he was attached to the staff of the governor.

The monument was set up by Januaria Martina, his wife.

The hunters of Banna

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Inscription, Birdoswald © David Gill

An inscription found at Birdoswald in 1821 is now displayed in the small site museum (RIB 1905). It had previously been displayed in the undercroft at nearby Lanercost Priory (and where it features in Charles M. Daniels, Handbook to the Roman Wall 13th ed.).

The altar was dedicated to the ‘holy god’ Silvanus, and the dedicators were the venatores or hunters of Banna. Banna is almost certainly Birdoswald, and is a name also known from the Rudge cup found at Froxfield in Wiltshire (for the replica, now in the British Museum) that shows some of the forts along Hadrian’s Wall.

It has been suggested that the inscription should be dated to the 3rd century (supported by David Breeze in his Handbook to the Roman Wall).