BU archaeologists and the mystery of the Roman statue

Archaeologists from BU gained international news coverage after a breakthrough in identifying a Roman statue that had remained a mystery since it was discovered in the 1800s.

Dr Miles Russell and Harry Manley, from the School of Applied Sciences, used the latest in 3D scanning technology to reveal that the mystery stone head – which was discovered in a flowerbed in Bosham, Chicester, in around 1800 – is from a statue of the Roman Emperor Trajan.

The story was featured on the Daily Mail website, the BBC news website, and the Huffington Post, as well as in the Portsmouth News and on various BBC local radio stations, BBC Five Live and regional radio station Wave 105.

It was also covered by specialist new organisations, including Archaeology magazine and Heritage Daily.

Miles, a senior lecturer in prehistoric and Roman archaeology at BU, said: β€œThe key thing is that this is certainly the largest Roman statue found so far in Britain and it’s a major piece of archaeology which has been ignored and overlooked for so long.”

The statue, which is made of Italian marble, would have been erected by Emperor Trajan’s successor Hadrian when he visited Britain in around AD 122.

Miles has been researching the head as part of his work on monumental sculpture and will give a talk on his findings at The Novium museum in Chichester.

His lecture – Finding Nero (and other Roman Emperors) – is on Thursday 24 October from 6.30-8pm. To book tickets or for further information contact The Novium, Tower Street, Chichester on email at thenovium@chichester.gov.uk or call 01243 775888.