July 29, 2003

'Roman Cosmetics' Found at London Temple Dig
Archaeologists excavating the site of a major Roman temple in London have found a sealed box containing a white cream still bearing the fingermarks of the person who last used it, nearly 2,000 years ago.

The box was found at the bottom of a ditch on the edge of the site of the temple next to the merging of two major roads into Roman London -- Watling Street from the port of Dover and Stane Street from the garrison town of Chichester.

The site -- which last year revealed a stone tablet with the earliest known inscription bearing the Roman name of London -- dates from 50 AD and contained two small temples, a guest house for travelers, plinths for statues and a stone pillar.

"The site has been remarkable. It has revealed far more than we could possibly have expected," said Gary Brown, managing director of Pre-Construct Archaeology, which has been digging the soccer pitch-sized area for the past year.

Apart from the tin box and stone tablet, the site in modern day Southwark about two miles south of central London has also revealed pieces of statues, leather shoes and a wooden writing tablet among many other artifacts.

It will disappear under concrete this Summer when construction of a shopping and housing complex starts. - link.

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