5 Roman Artefacts You Can Handle At Home

We love seeing artefacts in person, but even when museums are closed, virtual collections now mean you can see artefacts closer up than ever before.

Of course, there’s nothing quite like seeing centuries-old ceramics, a mortarium that has survived for millennia, or pottery that dates back to prehistory in person, but online collections now give us a chance to see artefacts from museums and institutions all over the world.

In fact, now that more collections are 3D scanning their artefacts, it mean we can ‘handle’ finds in ways you never could before. Now, you can spend hours pouring over the Rosetta Stone without being elbowed by dozens of people taking photos, and you can even turn it upside down if you want to. You can even learn how to create your own!

So, without further ado, here are five of our favourite 3D Roman artefacts that you can ‘handle’ in your very own home.

A Roman lamp – with gladiators!

This beautiful lamp shows two Roman gladiators fighting. We can even see their names on it. Have a look, can you make out their names?

A Roman room in Londinium

Want to get the vibe of a being in a Roman home? Thanks to the British Museum, you now explore an entire room from Roman London. It’s all based on real archaeological finda from several different sites… right down to the wall decorations!

The bust of Claudia Olympias

It’s not very often we get to see the faces of people who lived almost 2000 years ago, but with this 3D model of the funerary bust of Claudia Olympias we can.

A Roman brooch

People loved to wear brooches in the past, and in some places they could be a pretty important way of showing how powerful you were. This is a trumpet brooch, one of the most common types of Roman brooch, but there were loads of others. Jump into the 3D model to have a closer look, and see if you can work out where the pin would have been.

A Roman coin

Coins are some of the most enigmatic artefacts we can find, sure they’re shiny and potentially valuable, but more importantly, they help us to make inferences about trade, wealth and when we find them, they’re one of the best ways that we can accurately date particular features on site.

A Roman temple

We’re just as upset as everyone else that we can’t hop on a plane and jet off to sunnier archaeological climates, but do you even need to when you can explore ancient Roman ruins with a cup of tea and a biscuit from the comfort of your armchair? In this 3D model, we’re in Turkey, exploring the excavation of a temple near Antalya that might have been dedicated to Apollo.

A mysterious Roman spoon

Our final find is a bit of a mystery. It looks like a spoon with a cute little duck on the end, but the bowl has a hole in it. Not the most practical thing for scooping up your dinner! There have been quite a few spoons like this found at Roman sites, but we’re still trying to work them out. Want to have a look yourself? Use the 3D model and see if you have any ideas.

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Harriet Tatton

Written by Harriet Tatton

Harriet is one of DigVentures' community archaeologists. She loves museums, skeletons, and a good cup of Early Grey. Her first dig was at Bennachie, in Aberdeenshire, and since then she's never gone digging without her signature flowery wellies.

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