Wednesday, June 01, 2011

From lionesses to latrines: five treasures of Roman Scotland

The Cramond lioness : This statue, dating from the Roman occupation of Cramond west of Edinburgh in the second and early third centuries AD, was found in 1997 in river silts adjacent to the ferry steps on the east side of the River Almond.

Spotted by the local ferryman, Robert Graham, the excavated sculpture was made from non-local white sandstone and was a substantial 1.52 metres long, 46cm wide and 55cm high.

The carved statue depicts a crouching lioness with her paws on the shoulders of a small, naked, bearded chap. She appears to be having a bit of a chew on his head, and this is in keeping with carnivorous symbolism from the Roman Empire, which represents the destructive power of death.

Two snakes emerge from underneath the lioness’s body, at the base of the neck, depicting the survival of the soul. It is thought that the statue was a tombstone for someone of importance – perhaps the commander at Cramond Fort.

More at  Caledonian Mercury

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