Experts find Roman millstone with a PENIS engraving near Cambridge

Experts find Roman millstone with a PENIS engraving near Cambridge

02/18/2021

Archaeologists uncover a 2,000-year-old Roman millstone near Cambridge with a PENIS engraved as an ‘image of strength and virility’

  • The millstone was uncovered as part of a roadwork project to upgrade the A14
  • It was found in the remains of a Roman villa located near to Godmanchester
  • The phallographic carving would have been made to confer luck on the flour
  • Experts also found the remains of a medieval village and a woolly mammoth tusk

A Roman millstone found near Cambridge was decorated with an engraving of a penis — an ‘image of strength and virility’ — archaeologists have revealed.

The millstone and others were uncovered three years ago during roadworks to improve a 21-mile stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

The finds came from the remains of a Roman villa located near the town of Godmanchester, a Highways England spokesperson told MailOnline.

However, the phallographic carving — which was made to give the millstone and its flour good luck and protection — was only recently identified by experts. 

The upgraded stretch of road was opened to traffic in the May of last year — but the millstone was not the only archaeological find revealed before the works finished.

Other finds included the tusk of a woolly mammoth, the skull of a woolly rhinoceros, an abandoned medieval village, and three dismembered men from 1,500 years ago.

Archaeologists also found the earliest known evidence for beer brewing in Britain, which dated back to as early as 400 BC.

A Roman millstone found near Cambridge was decorated with an engraving of a penis — an ‘image of strength and virility’ — archaeologists have revealed. Pictured, the millstone

The millstone and others were uncovered three years ago during roadworks to improve a 21-mile stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. Pictured, the dig site

According to Highways England’s Archaeology lead for the A14, Steve Sherlock, the penis-decorated millstone is important as it ‘adds to the evidence for such images from Roman Britain.’

‘There were known associations between images of the phallus and milling, such as those found above the bakeries of Pompeii, one inscribed with Hic Habitat Felicitas — “You Will Find Happiness Here”,’ he explained.

‘The phallus was seen as an important image of strength and virility in the Roman world, with it being common practice for legionaries to wear a phallus amulet, which would give them good luck before battle.’

The millstone was examined by experts from the Museum of London Archaeology Headland Infrastructure and Oxford Archaeology.

Alongside the carving of the phallus on the millstone’s upper face, the team discovered two crosses that had been inscribed on its circumference.

The quern itself would have been a simple hand mill, such as typically consists of two circular stones between which corn is ground.

According to the archaeologists, the millstone appeared to have been broken during use and subsequently adapted to be used as a saddle quern — a base stone in the grinding process — which would have hidden the genital image from sight,

The millstone was examined by experts from the Museum of London Archaeology Headland Infrastructure and Oxford Archaeology. Alongside the carving of the phallus on the millstone’s upper face, the team discovered two crosses that had been inscribed on its circumference. Pictured, Oxford Archaeology expert Ruth Shaffrey, poses with the phallus-bearing millstone

The upgraded stretch of road (pictured) was opened in the May of last year — but the millstone was not the only archaeological find revealed before the works finished. Other finds included the tusk of a woolly mammoth, the skull of a woolly rhinoceros, an abandoned medieval village, and three dismembered men from 1,500 years ago. Archaeologists also found the earliest known evidence for beer brewing in Britain, which dated back to as early as 400 BC

The researchers reported that more than 300 querns millstones were recovered during archaeological work on the A14 upgrade project.

Decorated querns and millstones of any date are rare — and only four Roman millstones have ever been discovered from around a total of 20,000 nationwide.

While crosses on such stones are more prevalent, these tend to be found only at military sites, the team explained.

‘As one of only four known examples of Romano-British millstones decorated this way, the A14 millstone is a highly significant find,’ said Oxford Archaeology’s worked stone specialist, Ruth Shaffrey.

‘It offers insights into the importance of the mill to the local community and to the protective properties bestowed upon the millstone and its produce (the flour) by the depiction of a phallus on its upper surface.’

The millstone was uncovered three years ago during roadworks to improve a 21-mile stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. The finds came from the remains of a Roman villa located near Godmanchester, a Highways England spokesperson told MailOnline

How England spent almost half a millennium under Roman rule

55BC – Julius Caesar crossed the channel with around 10,000 soldiers. They landed at a Pegwell Bay on the Isle of Thanet and were met by a force of Britons. Caesar was forced to withdraw.

54BC – Caesar crossed the channel again in his second attempt to conquer Britain. He came with with 27,000 infantry and cavalry and landed at Deal but were unopposed. They marched inland and after hard battles they defeated the Britons and key tribal leaders surrendered.

However, later that year, Caesar was forced to return to Gaul to deal with problems there and the Romans left.

54BC – 43BC – Although there were no Romans present in Britain during these years, their influence increased due to trade links.

43AD – A Roman force of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius appointed Plautius as Governor of Britain and returned to Rome.

47AD – Londinium (London) was founded and Britain was declared part of the Roman empire. Networks of roads were built across the country.

50AD – Romans arrived in the southwest and made their mark in the form of a wooden fort on a hill near the river Exe.  A town was created at the site of the fort decades later and names Isca. 

When Romans let and Saxons ruled, all ex-Roman towns were called a ‘ceaster’. this was called ‘Exe ceaster’ and a merger of this eventually gave rise to Exeter.   

75 – 77AD – Romans defeated the last resistant tribes, making all Britain Roman. Many Britons started adopting Roman customs and law.

122AD – Emperor Hadrian ordered that a wall be built between England and Scotland to keep Scottish tribes out.

312AD – Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal throughout the Roman empire.

228AD – The Romans were being attacked by barbarian tribes and soldiers stationed in the country started to be recalled to Rome.

410AD – All Romans were recalled to Rome and Emperor Honorious told Britons they no longer had a connection to Rome.

Source: History on the net

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