Friday, May 01, 2009

Unique Roman glass dish found at London grave site

LONDON, Apr. 29, 2009 (Reuters) — Archaeologists have unearthed a Roman glass bowl, thought to be a unique find in the Western Roman Empire, at an ancient cemetery beyond the walls of the old city of London.

The "millefiori" dish (a thousand flowers), believed to date from around the 2nd to 3rd century A.D., is a mosaic of hundreds of indented blue petals with white bordering.

"For it to have survived intact is amazing. In fact, it is unprecedented in the western Roman world," said Jenny Hall, curator of the Roman collection at the Museum of London.


The artifact was found 2.5 to 3 meters (yards) down at a sprawling ancient cemetery in Aldgate, east London, just beyond the old city walls. Romans were required by law to bury their dead outside the city gates.

It formed part of a cache of grave goods found close to a wooden container holding the ashes of a probably wealthy Roman citizen from the ancient imperial outpost of Londinium, now mostly hidden beneath modern-day London.

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