Roman lead ingot from Westbury-sub-Mendip
On Display Now
The museum is excited to exhibit a Roman lead ingot or ‘pig’ that was found at Westbury-sub-Mendip in 2016.
This ingot is special for several reasons. It is precisely datable, it is further evidence of Roman lead mining at Charterhouse-on-Mendip, and it indicates previously unrecognised significant Roman activity at Westbury.
It carries the inscription ‘IMP DVOR AVG ANTONINI ET VERI ARMENIACORVM’ which translates as the ‘property of the two August Emperors Antoninus and Verus, conquerors of Armenia’. We know that the Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius (Antoninus) and Lucius Verus ruled jointly between 164 and 169 AD.
The ‘pig’ is made from lead mined at Charterhouse. As well as the mines there was a Roman town here, which included a small amphitheatre. The mines supplied lead and silver that was exported from Mendip to other parts of the empire. The lead was used to make water pipes and coffins, and as a component of pewter.
Also found nearby was a hoard of 89 Roman Radiate coins, some of which are also on display. The ingot and the coins point to a significant Roman presence in the area and work continues by the Westbury Society Archaeology Group to understand this better.
The ingot is on loan from the South West Heritage Trust. Its acquisition is dedicated to the memory of Barry Lane (1944-2017), former Curator of the museum who was passionate about uncovering the rich history of his home village, Westbury.