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Wells And Belief Systems At The End Of Roman Britain: A Case Study From Roman London

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Chapter Summary

The recent discovery of a large hoard of copper-alloy, pewter and iron vessels in a late 4th to early 5th c. well at Drapers Gardens in the City of London highlights the role that wells and shafts played in late antique ritual life. Examination of the wells contents reveals that these pots and pans were not hidden in a time of crisis but were carefully placed alongside ritually killed objects and a dismembered juvenile red deer in a complex ritual act. This chapter undertakes a speculative exploration of this acts significance and its possible meaning. It takes a remarkable discovery made on a developer-funded rescue excavation in the City of London, and attempts to reconstruct a symbolic narrative from the recovered artefacts and ecofacts. The result is a speculative interpretive essay that sheds light on the complexities of belief systems during Britains last days as diocese of the western empire.

Keywords: City of London; juvenile red deer; late antique ritual life



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