An “exceptional” Roman sculpture thought to have adorned the tomb of a wealthy man in the 1st or 2nd century AD has been found under the building site of a new boutique hotel near Aldgate tube station and will go on display for six months at the Museum of London from Wednesday October 30.
Experts have hailed it as being among the finest Roman pieces ever discovered in Britain, and the best-preserved example of the eagle and snake motif in the world. This statue, made from limestone from the Cotswolds, is believed to symbolise the struggle between good and evil, and triumph over death.
The area where the sculpture was discovered is known to have been a burial ground just outside the city walls, with a Roman road running nearby it. The statue dates from a boom period in London’s early history, when trade and investment was flooding back following a violent rebellion in AD60 by Queen Boudicca that left the city razed to the ground. Grand buildings were being constructed, including London’s amphitheatre in AD70 and two forums.