Silchester eagle

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Silchester eagle
Reading Museum (7690312264).jpg
The Silchester eagle
Size6 inches (15 cm) high
Created1st or 2nd century CE
Discovered9 October 1866
Calleva Atrebatum
Discovered byRev J.G. Joyce
Present locationReading Museum
IdentificationREDMG : 1995.4.1

The Silchester eagle is a Roman bronze casting dating from the first or second century CE, uncovered in 1866 at Calleva Atrebatum in Silchester, Hampshire, England, and subsequently purchased by Reading Museum in Berkshire where it remains on display as of 2017.[1]


The Silchester eagle was discovered wingless and damaged in 9 October 1866 by Rev J.G. Joyce during the excavation of a Roman basilica where it was likely part of a larger statue,[1][2][3] it stands approximately 6 inches (15 cm) high and has a hollow space inside of it which was accessed through a [now missing] square lid located on the top of the back of the bird. It was found buried in a layer of charred wood, leading the discoverer to believe that it might have been the sacred eagle of a Roman legion and been stashed in the rafters of the aerarium (treasury).[4]

However, more recent archaeologists have suggested that the piece may have been intended as nothing more than scrap metal by the Romans at the time that it was lost, and was awaiting being recycled when the aerarium burnt down.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Silchester Gallery". Reading Museum. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  2. ^ Cornell, Tim; Matthews, John (1991). The Roman World. Stonehenge. p. 138. ISBN 978-0867065589.
  3. ^ "Unknown title". Minerva. 7: 28. 1996.
  4. ^ Gordon Hills (1873). "Proceedings of the Association: Notes on Roman Eagles". The Journal of the British Archaeological Association. Brit. Arch. Ass.: 183–5.
  5. ^ Fulford, Michael (1981). "Silchester". Current Archaeology (82): 328.

External links[edit]

Media related to Silchester Eagle at Wikimedia Commons