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 Museum Explorer

Death in Roman Britain

Face-urn

Height: 30.000 cm

P&EE 1870 4-2 526

Face-urn

From: Colchester, Essex
Date: 2nd century AD

Cremation was the usual way of burying the dead in the early days of Roman Britain. After someone died, their body was burnt on a fire and the ashes then put into a special pot like this one called an urn. Sometimes pots that were used around the house were re-used as cremation urns, but this one was made specially.

The spooky face on the side must have a special meaning, but we are not sure what it is. Maybe it is meant to be a picture of the person inside the pot, or it could be a god. Can you see the ears on each side?