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Silchester - The Roman town of Calleva

Silchester from the East, by Alan Sorrell (Crown copyright) object no. 1975.37.1

Silchester from the East, by Alan Sorrell (Crown copyright) object no. 1975.37.1

The Silchester Collection consists of a wealth of items from the Roman town of Calleva, near Silchester, in Hampshire. The Revd J.G Joyce excavated on the site from 1864 to 1878 and discovered the Silchester Eagle. The Society of Antiquaries' excavations uncovered the whole area within the town walls between 1890 and 1909.

These things belonged to rich and poor, old and young and no project on life in Roman Britain is complete without reference to Calleva and its objects. The town was abandoned after the Roman period and the site was never developed. Therefore the excavations produced the most complete plan of any town in Roman Britain and the objects from those excavations illustrate all aspects of town life - personal, social, religious, commercial and official. The highlights are now displayed in the Museum's Silchester Gallery.

The Collection also throws light on the development of archaeological techniques. Revd J.G Joyce meticulously recorded his work in a three-volume Journal, which is now in the Collection. His appreciation of stratification and his interest in Darwin’s work on earthworms foreshadow modern scientific techniques. Darwin’s sons visited the site to conduct scientific studies and Darwin’s The Earthworm contained some woodcuts from Joyce’s section-drawings.


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Silchester Eagle

The Silchester Eagle, described as ‘the most superbly naturalistic rendering of any bird or beast as yet yielded by Roman Britain’.

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Related Content:

Silchester Gallery

Featuring finds excavated from the Roman town near Silchester, including the famous Silchester eagle and the Silchester Horse.

Date published: 18 Oct 2010

The Silchester Annexe at Reading Museum

The Annexe space focuses on the pottery discovered at the Roman town of Calleva near Silchester, and photographs of the early excavations.

Date published: 18 Oct 2010

Related Websites:

English Heritage visitor information for Roman Silchester

http://www.english-heritage.org....


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