Archeology in Britain

According to one recent account, a roman sculpture of an eagle was discovered by archeologists in the city of London. The sculpture, which is said to be roughly 1,800 years old, is one of the greatest pieces of Romano-British art ever unearthed. When discovered, the bird was in excellent condition and looked nearly brand new… The bird stands regal and holds a serpent in its beak and is said to be a symbol of power and immortality.

The preserved bird was so startling to the archeologists who had discovered it on the last day of an excavation at the Minories, some thought they had found a Victorian garden ornament. But the excitement went up a notch when it was found that the bird was really of Roman origins, although it was carved from Cotswold limestone in London. The archeologists are anxious to fiddle with it more; but the bird is currently on its way (broken wing and all) to the Museum of London for six months days, where it will be on display. The exhibit is being set up and arranged just 30 days after the discovery.

Martin Henig, an internationally hailed expert on Roman art, said that the sculpture is exceptional. It is simply one of the best pieces of Roman-British art ever uncovered. The only really tragedy is the loss of the surface paint, which washed away when it was deposited into a ditch sometime during the excavation. The only thing even coming close to this bird in value is a sad stump of a bird, minus head, wings and feet, found at a Roman villa at Keynsham in Somerset nearly a century ago. A serpent was also found in Jordan at one time and now resides in the Cincinnati Museum of Art.

The London eagle—a symbol of immortality, wealth, health and power—was likely created in the first century AD, when the Roman city was flourishing. The eagle was believed to be set on a mausoleum just opposite a cemetery on the outskirts of the town. Even as the original tomb (and its owner) was reduced to rubble, the eagle lived on. Some experts believe that something supernatural watched over the bird’s plight.

Over the centuries, many things have been erected and destroyed around the site where the bird was found. But, it has remained for nearly 2,000 years without much harm being done to it. Perhaps, believe some, the statue is immortal.