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Excavations in Kent Reveal Mercury Figurine and Roman Settlement

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Excavations at Smallhythe Place in England’s Kent have revealed both a medieval shipbuilding site and an earlier Roman settlement. The latter yielded the unexpected find of the head of a figurine depicting the god Mercury. With only ten Mercury figurines having been known till date, archaeologists have been further excited.  The 2,000-year-old head, along with other finds, indicate that a Roman settlement stood at this spot between the 1st and 3rd centuries. The head of Mercury was crafted from pipeclay, a rarity in Britannia, as pipeclay figurines primarily originate from regions like central Gaul (modern-day France) and the Rhine-Moselle region, and were imported into Britain. However, while pipeclay examples are rare overall, the majority found in Britain depict female deities, particularly Venus, according to a statement published by The National Trust. Mercury, known as the god of various domains including the fine arts, commerce, and financial success, was a significant figure in Roman religion. Statues and portable figurines of deities like Mercury were an integral part of daily religious practices for both the Roman elite and ordinary citizens, often worshipped within their homes, particularly during Britain’s Roman period 43-410 AD…(READ MORE)

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