Museum of London Docklands exhibition will feature 200 objects from Roman burial grounds

PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 January 2018

Tombstone of a 10-year-old girl, Marciana. Picture credit: Museum of London.

Tombstone of a 10-year-old girl, Marciana. Picture credit: Museum of London.


A tombstone belonging to a child is among the rare Roman objects which will go on display at a free exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands.

Jet Medusa pendant. Picture credit: Museum of London. Jet Medusa pendant. Picture credit: Museum of London.

The monument to the 10-year-old girl called Marciana was found during excavations of the Roman City Wall, which stretched two miles from Tower Hill to Blackfriars Station around ancient London.

The dig also revealed that the wall was partly composed of reused monumental masonry including fragments of tombstones.

More than 200 objects, which have all be found in excavations in Roman burial landscapes across London, will be showcased for the first time at the ‘Roman Dead’ exhibition.

These include one of the most recent finds - a stone sarcophagus from Harper Road, Southwark, which was discovered last summer.

Millefiori glass dish. Picture credit: Museum of London. Millefiori glass dish. Picture credit: Museum of London.

The lid of the coffin was found partly pushed to one side, indicating it might have been disturbed by grave robbers.

An expensive multi-coloured glass dish found with cremated remains and a jet pendant in the form of Medusa’s head, thought to protect the dead, will also be on display.

In addition to showcasing the finds the exhibition will also explore themes of cremation and some unusual and burial practices which some might find disturbing.

Families and children will be able to engage with the displays through a range of interactive activities and events.

Stone sarcophagus from Harper Road. Picture credit: Southwark Council. Stone sarcophagus from Harper Road. Picture credit: Southwark Council.

Meriel Jeater, curator at the Museum of London said: “We are incredibly excited to display the Harper Road sarcophagus publically for the very first time as part of our Roman Dead exhibition.

“Discoveries of this kind are rare and reveal new stories and alter perspectives of our great city. We will also be displaying skeletons from the eastern parts of Roman London, and the fascinating grave goods buried with them.

“Visitors will be encouraged to question the evidence and join in the discussion, as we look to advance the knowledge of the city that we share with these ancient Londoners.”

The exhibition runs from May 25 – October 28 at the Museum of London Docklands at No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay.

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