The Romans invaded Britain in 43AD, and experts are still finding traces of their stay to this day. The latest comes in the form of a small figurine of the god of love, Cupid – a fitting find just days after Valentine’s Day. The small statue is made of solid bronze, and appears to be holding a flaming torch and has wings.
Experts found the figurine alone a 3.4 mile stretch of the A417 in Gloucestershire and was discovered as part of planned renovations for the road.
As is custom with new infrastructure development, archaeological work is first carried out to discover any lost treasures.
The road is being built on or near an old Roman road, so major discoveries were always in the offing.
Metal detectorists discovered the small metal statue inside a deposit of charcoal.
According to a statement from Highways England, which is carrying out the £435m roadworks, this suggests it was likely used as an offering to the god Cupid himself.
The finding is made even more significant due to the rarity of Cupid figurines.
To date, only 50 have been found since the Romans invaded the British isles 2,000 years ago.
It was likely created and used before the third century AD, at which point the Romans turned to Christianity.
Michael Goddard, Highways England Senior Project Manager for the A417, said: “The archaeology works we are undertaking along the A417 give us a significant insight into life on the site thousands of years ago, providing a unique glimpse into the past.
“It’s fascinating to see that Romans would have lived in the area in a similar way to how we do today – drawn to the area’s stunning beauty, something we are aiming to maintain with this landscape led scheme.
“It’s also fascinating to see that the Romans also left offerings to the God of love to keep them happy and help shape their own lives – with Cupid now a staple of Valentine’s Day celebrations all over the world.
“These finds help us understand the relationship between the improvement scheme and the surrounding historic environment which will ensure the protection of any historic finds for generations to come.”
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Researchers also discovered a brooch which was still in relatively good condition.
The brooch is shaped like a bow and arrow and likely belonged to a wealthy person.
The statement continued: “The brooch discovered at the same settlement also gives an insight into daily life as a Roman, who would have used the brooch to fasten their cloak to keep out the wind that still blows strongly across the landscape.
“The brooch is ornate, and shaped like an archer’s bow- it’s likely that the owner would have been quite wealthy.”