An archaeological team has discovered a sculpture of Silenus, the Greek deity associated with wine making, at a site in Cockermouth, northern England, that dates back to the first century.
In Greek mythology, Silenus was a companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus and is associated with wine making, vegetation, fertility, musical creativity, religious ecstasy, drunken joy, and drunken dances.
Silenus was often depicted as being drunk and needing help to stay upright, and he was known as a companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus in Greek mythology.
Silenus was considered the most experienced and knowledgeable among the followers of Dionysus and was identified as the young god’s mentor in Orphic hymns.
The newly discovered bust is a weight that was used on a steelyard balance to measure the weight of objects in the 1st century AD.
The device worked by using a counterweight that slides along the longer arm to balance the load and determine the object’s weight.
According to Julie Shoemark, the finds officer who spoke to ITV, this discovery is remarkable and a testament to Roman craftsmanship and artistry.
The size of the weight is surprising as they are usually smaller. She also mentioned that finding a weight depicting Silenus in such good condition is unusual, and she has only come across one good parallel for it.
Edward Dougherty, a representative of Northern Archaeological Associates Ltd, explains that during the 1st and 2nd century AD, the area of Cockermouth would have been a significant regional hub, linking to forts such as Burrow Walls Roman Fort and Alauna (Maryport) along the Cumbrian coast.
He compares the importance of Cockermouth during this period to that of Corbridge.
Dougherty also emphasizes the importance of flood defenses for the site, as a potential flood could erase important historical discoveries.
He believes that installing such defenses would be invaluable for the protection of ancient artifacts and information. If the town were to experience floods like those in 2015, it could potentially wipe out valuable information.
In addition to the bust of Silenus, the archaeological excavations in Cockermouth have revealed other interesting finds.
The team has discovered evidence of a Roman road and house plots in the southwest corner of the site near a road. Andy Crowson, the technical director of the team, has suggested that the Roman road appears to lead towards a bridge across the River Derwent.
As the team continues to explore the area, they plan to conduct further excavations on the edge of the site, where they suspect there may be a religious sanctuary.
Their objective is to uncover objects used for private prayer and worship, such as figurines, that could shed more light on the beliefs and rituals of the people who lived in the area during ancient times.
The team is hopeful that these new findings will provide more insight into the history and culture of the Roman period in northern England.