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An “Incredibly Rare” 2,000-Year-Old Clay Figurine Head Depicting The Roman God Mercury Was Discovered In England, Leading Researchers To Uncover An Unknown Roman Settlement

moofushi - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

In England, a clay head from a figurine depicting the Roman god Mercury was unearthed, and it has led researchers to discover a previously unknown Roman settlement.

The clay head of Mercury, god of good fortune, wealth, commerce, fertility, thievery, translators, and interpreters, was roughly 2,000-years-old and two inches tall.

It was located at Smallhythe Place in Kent, which was a site used for shipbuilding during medieval times.

It was a surprise to discover the clay head there. According to a statement from the National Trust, the head is considered an “incredibly rare” find.

The head, along with other artifacts that were excavated, revealed that a Roman settlement had been in existence there between the first and third centuries.

The head portrayed Mercury wearing a hat. There are two possible ways he could’ve been shown standing.

He was either donning a short cloak called a chlamys or was unclothed and holding a caduceus, a staff with snakes coiled around it. The caduceus is a symbol of healing and medicine.

The fact that the head was found without a corresponding body was noted as significant, considering the evidence suggesting that breaking the heads of figurines was an important ritual practice.

Usually, figurines of Mercury were made from metal. However, this one had been crafted out of pipe clay, a fine white clay that was used to create tobacco pipes and whiten leather in later centuries. Objects molded out of pipe clay were regarded as disposable since the material was not very strong.

moofushi – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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