Saturday, July 6, 2013


BRITISH archaeologists have uncovered the remains of circular stone building with red and white painted walls that was once a Roman-era shrine which possibly could have been dedicated to Antinous in the guise of the Celtic war god Antenociticus.

Uncovered in Cornwall near the Rutland Water Nature Reserve, the shrine consists of a circular stone building with red and white painted walls, and the skeletal remains of a man who had been buried in its center.

The Cornwall discovery shares headlines today with the discovery of a stone head of ANTENOCITICUS near Hadrian's Wall in County Durham.

At the Cornwall site, archaeologists also found more than 200 Roman coins, a small bronze figurine, pottery, and animal bones that were probably left behind by the ritual slaughter of lambs and cattle in ritual sacrifices.

“Finding Roman shrines is not the norm, so we were delighted,” said Jo Everitt, environment and heritage assessor for Anglian Water.

The shrine was found on land that will be added to the nature reserve.

The shrine is thought to be dedicated to Cocicius, a form of Antenociticus, who is believed to be a Celtic form of Antinous.

Another Celtic god with whom Antinous was assimilated, according to an inscription found at Hadrian's Villa is another form of Apollo, is the god Belenus whose cult was worshiped all over the Celtic world, but is said to have been particular to Cornwall.

So Antinous has a Cornish connection for some reason.

Roman sites had been found in the area at Collyweston Great Woods, 14km (eight miles) to the south-east of Rutland, and another to the north-west of Rutland Water, near Oakham.

They also found more than 200 Roman coins, pottery jars, part of a small bronze figurine and deposits of animal bone, probably from the ritual sacrifice of lambs and cattle.

A skeleton of a man, aged about 30, was buried in a grave in the centre of the shrine.

The archaeologists believe the shrine fell out of use in 300 AD.

Ms Everitt added: "We've recreated part of the foundation and wall of the shrine from the original stone on an area outside of the lagoons so visitors to Rutland can see what it looked like."

The findings from the dig are currently being displayed at the Rutland Water visitor centre.

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