A rare Roman millstone adorned with a giant phallus is due to take up residence in a Cambridgeshire museum next week.

The stone dating from the second century AD is believed to be one of only four known Roman grindstones adorned with a penis in Britain, was discovered in February.

It is one of more than 20,000 Roman millstones which have been mined in Great Britain for many years.

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Its discovery follows an extensive excavation of ancient artifacts during upgrades to the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, which were completed last year.

Experts then combed through over 300 Roman artifacts to assess their significance. There were other ancient finds as well, including mammoth tusks and evidence of some of the first beers brewed in the country.

The stone will be on display at the Godmanchester Museum, where it will remain at least the rest of the year, in a ceremony with archaeologists and local dignitaries on July 31.

During the presentation, another similar stone will be shown which was found in Stow Longa, a village eight miles west of Huntingdon.

The stone testifies to the belief of the Romans that the penis brought them luck as a symbol of strength and virility.

It also testifies to the fact that the Romans were the first recyclers, as the stone was sharpened from a larger grinding wheel.

The stone will be welcomed to the museum by City Mayor Cllr Cliff Thomas and museum curator Kate Hadley.

Archaeologist Dr Ruth Shaffrey, expert in Roman millstones, will talk about the meaning of the stone.



Dr Ruth Shaffrey with the rare Roman grindstone

Ms Hadley said: “The rarity of the stone is phenomenal – one of four in all of the Roman province.

“The grindstone has massive magical properties and magic is the basis of the Roman Empire. These are related to fertility, wealth, good harvest, blessing from heaven and protection from the evil eye.

“The millstone is intended to help make bread which makes up about 70% of the daily diet of Roman Britons and of course soldiers were sometimes paid with bread, so the millstone is another staple of British Roman society. .



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“The phallus has another set of magical properties – a phallus is often used on a house wall or jewelry to protect against the evil eye, for wealth, popularity, bravery (there are many on the wall Hadrian who were to encourage the soldiers there, but on bricks and not on millstones).

“So a phallus on a grindstone is double magic. This was buried as a votive object before the Romans left. “

The stone is on loan to the Godmanchester Museum by Cambridgeshire County Council.


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