Canary Wharf starts Roman funerals to get souls through London Underworld

Roman teenager who died in mysterious circumstances 2,000 years ago. Picture source: Museum of Londo

Roman teenager who died in mysterious circumstances 2,000 years ago. Picture source: Museum of London Docklands - Credit: Docklands London

Roman funeral processions are coming to Canary Wharf to help the departed make it through Londinium’s Underworld to the afterlife.

What Romans did for their dead... exhibitions staged at Docklands museum in August. Picture source:

What Romans did for their dead... exhibitions staged at Docklands museum in August. Picture source: Museum of London Docklands - Credit: Docklands London

The ancient Romano-Britons loved a good funeral. They often had money, food and trinkets placed in their graves that their souls would need for the journey along the River Styx winding its way through the Underworld nine times.

Now the Museum of London Docklands is planning its own journey to the Roman Underworld with its ‘Styx, Stones and Roman Bones’ daily show next month.

Anyone daring to venture into the converted Georgian sugar warehouse at West India Quay is being asked help a Roman spirit get to the afterlife using song and dance, creating trinkets and joining a procession—just as the Romans did 2,000 years ago to help their loved ones complete their journey.

The funeral show is part of the museum’s Roman Dead exhibition featuring the first sarcophagus discovered near London Bridge in a decade, plus 11 skeletons and 250 objects left behind in graves by friends and loved ones.

21st century citizens of east London finding out what made kids tick in 1st century Londinium Ad Ori

21st century citizens of east London finding out what made kids tick in 1st century Londinium Ad Orientem. Picture source: Museum of London Docklands - Credit: Docklands London


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It runs three times a day throughout August, 11.30am-12.15pm, 1.30-2.15pm and 3-3.45pm, exploring burial practices and funerary rites in ancient ‘Londinium Ad Orientem’—what we call ‘East London’.

What every Roman soldier wore, as schoolchildren are finding out at Canary Wharf. Picture source: Mu

What every Roman soldier wore, as schoolchildren are finding out at Canary Wharf. Picture source: Museum of London Docklands - Credit: Docklands London

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