Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The London Mithraeum

In case you missed it, London's newest museum opened yesterday. The London Mithraeum is a recreation of a 240 AD Roman temple to the god Mithras. Originally discovered in 1954 during construction of Bucklersbury House, a 14 story office building in The City, it was carefully excavated and moved 100 metres to Temple Court, Queen Victoria Street where it was reconstrcuted.

But when Bucklersbury House along with four other nearby buildings were demolished, plans were drawn up to relocate the temple nearer to its original location as part of what was called the Walbrook Square project. Bloomberg Company bought the property in 2010 which ultimately decided to restore the Mithraeum to its original site as part of their new European headquarters. Parallel to the construction work, Museum of London Archaeology lead a team of over 50 archaeologists excavating the site between 2010-14. This effort recovered more than 14,000 items, including a large assembly of tools and other objects like leather shoes and a large assembly of wooden writing tablets of which over 400 were found.

The Mithraeum is now located nearly 23 feet below street level which equates to ground level in ancient Londinium and the temple's new home and layout is impressive. Also shown are the additional uncovered objects as well as an array of excavated objects from the 1954 dig and an earlier partial discovery in 1889!

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