A rare, early Roman wooden carved figurine has been discovered during work on a construction project for a new British railway.
In a statement from HS2, in July 2021, archaeologists from Infra Archaeology, working for HS2’s contractor Fusion JV, removed the well-preserved figure from a water-logged Roman ditch in a field in Twyford, Buckinghamshire. HS2 is a new high-speed railway that will form the backbone of Britain’s transport network, and connect towns from London to towns and cities in the South, Midlands, and North of the country.
As the crew was investigating land near Twyford, the team came across what they initially thought was a degraded piece of wood. As they continued to excavate it a humanlike, or anthropomorphic, figure was revealed. The figure, cut from a single piece of wood, stands at 67 cm tall and is 18 cm wide.
Initial assessment dates the wooden figure to the early Roman period, given the style of the carving and the tunic-like clothing. Shards of pottery dating from 43-70 AD were also discovered in the same ditch.
While archaeologists cannot be certain about what the carved figure was used for, there have been examples of wooden carved images being offered as gifts to the gods. It is possible that rather than being casually discarded in the ditch it was more deliberately placed there, the statement said.
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