A RARE 2,000 year old wooden limb has been discovered at the bottom of an ancient Roman well at an industrial estate in Northamptonshire.
Archaeologists think the finely carved arm could have been an offering to the gods and it is considered to be of national and international importance.
4 The arm is very rare and very well preservedCredit: Oxford Archaeology East
This discovery is so important because of its location and how well preserved the artefact is.
Researchers working at the Warth Park industrial estate in Raunds were carrying out an excavation before more development was supposed to occur in the area.
The arm discovery came as a surprise and it is thought to have survived so well because it lay in water logged conditions.
The ancient well had been filled in so a lack of oxygen prevented any deterioration from happening.
4 The arm is more likely to have been a ritual offering than a prosthetic limbCredit: Oxford Archaeology Ltd
4 It was discovered at the bottom of an ancient wellCredit: Oxford Archaeology Ltd
Wood specialist Michael Bamforth wrote in a report that he thinks the arm was “carved from a single branch, which makes use of a natural curve to form the elbow, and is very well made, as no tool marks are visible on its surface”.
It is thought that the artefact was designed to resemble the arm of a small adult or teenager, as it is quite slender and has a graceful open palm pose.
Archaeologists at Oxford Archaeology East also think that the arm was made to be a single object and not part of a larger sculpture as there is no joint evidence.
4 The arm could be from the fairly early days of Roman rule in BritainCredit: Oxford Archaeology Ltd
A small part of the wooden arm has been carbon dated and revealed to be from between 86 and 240 AD.
Bamforth thinks the object was probably thrown into the well as a religious offering.
Although the Romans were known to use wooden limbs for prosthetic purposes, this particular arm is thought to have been purely for ritual purposes because it has no obvious way of attaching to the human body.
Other examples of carved wooden body parts seemingly used for ritual purposes have been found across Europe but they don’t date as far back as the wooden arm in question and have never been found in Britain before.
The Romans in BritainHere’s everything you need to know…
The Roman Empire conquered vast swathes of Europe, West Asia and North Africa.
A Roman force of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east in 43 AD.
Key tribal leaders surrendered, and within three years Britain was declared part of the Roman Empire.
Londinium (London) was founded in 47 AD and became the country’s capital. Networks of roads were built across the country.
Over time, the Britons began to adopt Roman customs, such as towns, animals, a new religion and ways of reading and counting. The Romans even gave us the word “Britain”.
The Romans largely remained in the south of Britain, famously never managing to take Scotland from the country’s violent Barbarian forces.
By 410 AD, the Empire was falling apart, and Roman rule ended in Britain when soldiers were recalled to Rome to protect other parts of it.
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What do you think of this Roman discovery? Let us know in the comments…
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