A Roman cockerel figurine thought to have been made to accompany a child’s grave has been unearthed in Gloucestershire.
The 1,800-year-old enamelled object was found during an archaeological dig at one of Britain’s earliest-known burial sites in Cirencester.
It is thought the bronze cockerel, which is 12.5cm high, could have been a message to the gods.
Archaeologist Neil Holbrook said it was a “most spectacular” find.
The elaborately-decorated cockerel is believed to be Roman, probably dating back to the 2nd Century AD.
According to experts, religious significance was given to the cockerel by the Romans and the artistic subject is known to be connected with Mercury, the messenger to the gods. Read more.
Excavations in Cirencester have unearthed one of the earliest burial sites ever found in Roman Britain.
The dig at the former Bridges Garage on Tetbury Road has uncovered over 40 burials and four cremations.
Experts say it is the largest archaeological find in the town since the 1970s.
Neil Holbrook, chief executive at Cotswold Archaeology, said he could not “underestimate the potential significance” of the discovery.
Archaeologists said they were particularly excited by the discovery of a child’s grave containing a pottery flagon, which could date to the early Roman period, between 70 AD and 120 AD.
They said if the burial could be dated to this time, it could “challenge the current belief amongst archaeologists” that inhumation burials were not common practice until the later Roman period. Read more.