Graffiti at Knole House, Kent

2013 discovery highlights

MOLA team
10.12.2013

2013 is almost over - where has the year gone?! The year may have flown by but we certainly have lots to show for it.

The MOLA team has completed 100s of projects, processed over 20,000 small finds and a staggering 6 million plus fragments of pottery, animal bone, building material and human remains. From one site alone we recovered an astonishing 55,000 sherds of Roman pottery!

But what do these discoveries tell us about people lives? In no particular order, here are our 2013 discovery highlights and a little bit of information about what they reveal.

The finest piece of Romano-British sculpture ever found in Britain, this eagle and serpent statue is not only an incredibly beautiful object it also tells us a great deal about funerary practices in Roman London and even what tombs looked like. It demonstrates to us that wealthy Roman Londoners were people of the world; familiar with classical mythology and art. 24-26 Minories, Endurance Land and SWIP Property Trust.

This fragmentary wooden writing tablet offers a tantalising glimpse into the identity and lives of Roman Londoners. Legal documents inscribed on wax tablets are more common but this personal letter that reads “To his Januarius … greetings dearest brother” is extremely rare. Bloomberg London, Bloomberg

Skeletons excavated by MOLA osteologists at Charterhouse are a significant discovery in the quest to better understanding of the Black Death. Although historical accounts of Black Death cemeteries exist very few of these burial grounds have been excavated. References to a Black Death cemetery in the Farringdon area suggest it was opened in 1348 and up to 50,000 individuals were buried within three years. Charterhouse, Crossrail

Buildings archaeologists recording the Grade II listed Knole in Kent discovered chalk graffiti in the attic above the Venetian Ambassador’s Bedroom. The graffiti consistes of a random selection of dates spanning the years 1917-52. Accessible only from a servants’ staircase and the discovery of empty packets of cigarettes dating back to the 1960s point to a long tradition of the staff leaving a record after sloping off for a crafty smoke. Knole, National Trust

  • Built heritage
  • Excavation
  • Artefacts

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