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Life in Roman London

Roman items found during excavation of Liverpool Street station
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Many everyday Roman items were found, from pots and spoons to brooches and bracelets. Most of these came from the soil that was dumped in the ditch, over the road or elsewhere on the site. It is likely that some of these objects came from burials in the area that were later disturbed.

Many pieces of jewellery and other small personal items were found. They include hairpins, bracelets, brooches and finger-rings. The chain may have linked two matching brooches. About 50 leather shoes were found, including both adults’ and children’s. These nailed shoe soles include a sandal sole with shaped toes.

A small number of military objects were found, mostly from the 3rd-century. This iron spearhead was found buried in the road’s surface. A crossbow brooch and small phallic mount may have been worn by a soldier. Mounts and pendants in the form of a penis were thought to bring luck to the wearer.

The counters are made from animal bone and were used for playing games. Other objects found by archaeologists included household items such as needles, a bone hinge, spoons and keys. The small knife is decorated with an animal’s head.

A number of complete or near complete pots were found, particularly in the ditch. It is unusual to find so many complete pots and it is likely that most came from burials or cremations that were disturbed by later activity. Most were made in the London area, including at the pottery kilns in Highgate Wood in north London.

Fragments of a number of unusual vessels also came from this site. They include a number of face pots. The female face came from a flagon and was made in the Nene Valley in Cambridgeshire. Two mythological faces, a satyr and the god Silenus, came from beakers made in Gaul (modern France). Part of the rim of a very large mortarium (food mixing bowl), possibly made in Germany, was also found.

Roman Spearhead found at Broadgate ticket hall March 2015_190766
Roman pots from the Broadgate Ticket Hall site_124237
Small phallic mount found at Liverpool Street
This mount may have been worn by a soldier. Mounts and pendants in the form of a penis were thought to bring luck to the wearer.