The Minories Eagle : a new sculpture from London’s eastern Roman cemetery
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The limestone sculpture of an eagle firmly clasping a serpent in its beak was recovered from within the eastern Roman cemetery of London on the last day of excavations at 24–26 Minories, EC3 in September 2013. The sculpture, which is dated stylistically to the late first or early second century a.d., had been carefully buried within the backfill of a roadside ditch no later than the mid-second century. The Minories eagle is one of the finest and earliest examples of freestone sculpture from the London cemeteries and presumably adorned the tomb of a rich and important individual or family located nearby. Petrological analysis of the sculpture has revealed it is carved from oolitic limestone quarried from the south Cotswolds. The article presents the context of the findspot and a detailed description of the eagle sculpture with an in-depth discussion of the iconography of the image and the results of the petrological examination. The Supplementary Material available online (http://journals.cambridge.org/bri) presents an account of the site stratigraphy, integrated with the specialist finds and the environmental reports.