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Title: Metal Figurines in Roman Britain
Author: Durham, Emma
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 7712
Awarding Body: The University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis is a study of metal figurines in Roman Britain. These small figures mainly depict deities and animals or birds, and occasionally priests or other human subjects. They are an important example of the changed religious practice of Romanised Britons, and provide fascinating insights into the spread of technology and forms of worship. Material was collected from publications, the Portable Antiquities Scheme database and museum collections, resulting in a corpus of over 1000 figurines. Analysis focuses on four principal areas: the spatial and social distribution of figurines, figurines as an expression of Romano-British art, their role in Romano- British religion and the evidence for the regional use of figurines. My research shows that there are differences in the use and production of figurines throughout Britain. For example, Eastern deities, particularly those of the Cybele and Isis cults, are predominantly associated with urban and military populations, and there is a concentration of such objects in London and Colchester. Traditionally, high quality figurines are thought to have been imported, poorly executed pieces locally produced, and moderate pieces are identified as possibly British or Gaulish. However, my research shows that figurines such as some of the horse and riders from eastern Britain are well-executed British products which exhibit a high level of technical competence. The presence of figurines at temples and in domestic contexts shows that figurines played an important role in the religious practices of Romano-Britons. The identification of figurines dedicated to Romano- Celtic deities shows that figurines were used in the worship of local deities. I also identified the production of figurines with a particularly Romano-British style in the southwest which show not only the development of a local style utilising elements of both native Iron Age and imported Roman art, but also the adoption of classical style to depict native deities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available