Looking Death in the Face – Closing thoughts

When I embarked on this project, I didn’t realise the extent of the work I would have to do, in all honesty I expected to look at some tombstones and write a little bit about them. Instead I went on journey about how we view the past, and how we view ourselves. Chester seemed like … Continue reading Looking Death in the Face – Closing thoughts

Iconography and Identity: Slavery in Roman Chester

It is common knowledge that the Roman Empire was a slave owning society and that slavery was common practise in Britain both before and during the occupation. According to Strabo, who was writing around 20 AD, Britain exported many slaves (Strabo 4.5) Chester has several tombstones that belong to slaves, two of them are likely … Continue reading Iconography and Identity: Slavery in Roman Chester

Iconography and Identity: Curatia Dinysia

During the early 3rd century AD, Chester experienced a huge upheaval in terms of the building work and the quality of the architecture and the archaeological remains. This coincided with the campaigns of the Severan Emperors in Northern Britain, and the reinvigorating impact this had on the towns and fortresses on the Frontier. During this … Continue reading Iconography and Identity: Curatia Dinysia

Iconography and Identity: The Cavalrymen – Aurelius Lucius

The auxiliary of the Roman Army were units of non-citizens, recruited from conquered peoples who had specialist skills that the Romans could use. For example, in Britain there was a unit of Syrian Archers and many groups from the Western Empire including Germans, Thracians and Celts who provided either cavalry or mixed cavalry (half cavalry/half … Continue reading Iconography and Identity: The Cavalrymen – Aurelius Lucius

Iconography and Identity: The Cavalrymen – Rider Reliefs

The cavalry of the Roman army was made up of contrasts. The attachment of cavalry that was part of the legion would have been made up of elite citizens, or rather those who could afford the expense of a horse. The auxiliaries were a separate detachment, made up of non-citizens, whose award at the end … Continue reading Iconography and Identity: The Cavalrymen – Rider Reliefs

Burial Practice in Roman Chester – The Intact Grave of Flavius Callimorphus and his son Serapion

When you walk through the Grosvenor Museum into the gallery containing the tombstones, the light dims and you enter another age. The stones are arranged in rows on either side of you, as if you are walking on a Roman road out of Deva. The walls are brilliantly painted to appear as the Roman landscape. … Continue reading Burial Practice in Roman Chester – The Intact Grave of Flavius Callimorphus and his son Serapion

Burial Practice in Roman Chester – The use of lead

The use of lead in the act of burial is a Roman introduction to Britain, as no evidence exists before the conquest (Philpott 1991, 28). Its malleability made it a very versatile material, especially in creating cylindrical objects such as pipes and urns. Looking at the evidence for lead based burial practice, it seems that … Continue reading Burial Practice in Roman Chester – The use of lead

Abstract – Looking Death in the Face

The Roman fortress of Deva (modern Chester) was the largest fortress Britain. It is located on the banks of the River Dee, (from which it is named) and functioned as an important port in the northwest of Britain. The Grosvenor Museum in Chester holds the largest collection of Roman funerary art in the UK, and … Continue reading Abstract – Looking Death in the Face

Romano-British Burial Practice – The Heads in the River

Before looking at the details of the funerary art associated with Chester, it makes sense to explore the context that it is situated in. Burial practice (the where, why and how a person is buried) is also an important part of a person’s identity. The position the body is laid, the vessel, grave goods and … Continue reading Romano-British Burial Practice – The Heads in the River