Last Updated: Monday, 05 August 2019 17:22
Written by Graham Brooks
Although prehistoric man marked the resting place of his ancestors in some cases with barrows etc. It would appea that it was the Romans who introduced the concept of grave markers with inscriptions on them to commemorate their relatives. They also appear to have introduced the concept of specific areas for burials and so the idea of a graveyard.
The quality of the grave stone as would be expected varies greatly from the possible simple home produced gravestone to highly ornate tombstones with highly carved figures and decoration on them.
A rather basic and crude tombstone on which the letters appear to have been pecked into the surface, suggesting that it may have been home produced rather than by a professional mason.
It was set up by Aurelius Julianius Tribune of 1st Aelian cohort of Dacians (from Romania) and 1st cohort of thracians (from Bulgaria and Croatia) to his baby son.
A Tribunes tour of duty was three years and so a number of them must have left relatives buried in foreign soils.
(Hancock Museum, Newcastle. Found Rissington fort.)
A slightly more ornate tombstone, which bears close resemblance to some many of the gravestones seen in modern cemeteries. This has obviously been carved by a professional mason.
A tombstone to a 70 year old Roman Citizen called Lucius novellius Cannuccus set up by their daughter.
(Hancock Museum, Newcastle. Found Great Chesters.)
A highly ornate tombstone with a possible family group of father, mother and child.
They family may have been called Virulis.
(Hancock Museum, Newcastle. Found Hutton Chester fort)
This well carved tombstone showing very similar design to alot of modern ones also shows some of the esteem in which slaves and freemen were regarded by the families they served.
To 20 year old freeman Folicio.
(Hancock Museum, Newcastle. Found high Rochester.)
Whilst some tombstones were similar to modern designs, others appear to copy the alters used to worship thier gods.
A tombstone set up by fleminius and Aslia Proculino to their daughter.
(Hancock Museum, Newcastle. found Rissingham fort.)
Whilst the Romans obviously had respect for the dead and obviously commemorated the people interred in the cemetery. this respect eventually apeared to end and gravemarkers like this one were then used as building stone. Very similar to the reuse of medieval and earlier grave covers and crosses in church renovations in the 16th Century onwards.
(Hancock Museum, Newcastle. Found in wall of Risingham fort.)
The sculpture on the tombstones got very detailed in some cases. They give in some cases detailed accounts of the clothing that were worn by the people at the time.
Tomb to Aurelia Aureliana set up by her husband Ulpius Apolinaris.
Dates from mid 3rd Century.
(Hancock Museum, Newcastle. Found Gallows Hill Carlisle.)
She wears at tunic known as a Gallic coat but at calf lenght rather than normal ankle lenght. It is possible that she has a fringed mantle if that is what is depicted as being held in her right hand. Also she possibly has a scarf wrapped around her neck and tucked inside the coat. She is also wearing pointed toed shoes.
Her left hand holds a bunch of 3 poppies. This was a common motif in Roman funerary art but is unusual so far north and at such a late date. The poppy is a normal attribute of the god Hupnos and on funeray monuments probably conveyed the message seen on modern gravestones of 'Not dead only sleeping'.
The figure is in a shallow arcuate niche, the arch is on debased Corinthian columns with pine cone finials. Pine cones were thought to represent the essential life force and hence immortality and they are therefore very common. The curved top is unusual as most roman tombstones had flat tops which often carried a second slab.
This tombstone was found on September 29th 1829 whilst improvements were being made to the main road between Carlisle and Penrith at Gallow Hill, Carlisle at a depth of four feet. Underneath was the remains of oak boards 6ft long. A writer at the time thought that it may have been removed from its original site and used to cover a moderner interment (Gallow Hill was the ancient place of execution for Carlisle and it is possible some victims may have been intered there)
The stone was obviuosly intended to stand upright as the bottom is not dressed square. The stone is 0.84 x 1.6 m.
D(is) M(anibus) Aur(elia) vixsit
annnos XXXXI Ulpius
Apolinaris Coniugi carrissim(a)e
Ref.Archaeologia Aeliana fifth series vol II P 271.
An unnamed tombstone.
(Hancock Museum, Newcastle. Found at Housteads.)
He is wearing a long sleeved knee lenght tunic and a fringed cloak held with a disc broach, a typical roamn Britain costume.
The inscriptions can be informative about both the country of origin especially for those serving in the Roman army. The deceased profession or rank are also often quoted on the tombstone.
Tombstone to Aricius Ingenuus who was a Medicus ordinarius (a doctor) to 1st cohort of Tungrians.
(Hancock Museum, Newcastle. Found Housestead Fort)
Last Updated: Thursday, 27 September 2018 07:04
Written by Graham Brooks
Like all 'marbles' that have been quarried in England, (Skye and Iona marbles are true marbles) Dent Marble is not a true metamorphic stone but is a hard limestone that takes a fine polish. It was quarried from a number of sites, grey marble was quarried from the Undersett Limestone, whilst the Hardraw Scar and Simonstone limestones produced a black marble. There were a number of small quarries spread throughout the top of the dale with extensive quarries at Highrake Moss and Greensill, smaller sites to the south of Gawthorp and Deepdale Head. It was widley used for decorative features including chimney pieces, flooring and occasional church monuments.
Most quarrying started in 1760 - 1770s with demand growing in the early 19th Century. In 1804 Webster and Airey architects at Kendal paid £9. 10s. for marble with a further £23. 5s. in 1808. In 1810 they bought 1,000 feet at 6d. per cubic foot.
Initially the stone was removed from the area for finnishing but in the early 1800s a marble mill was opened at Stone House at the base of Artengill. This had an extensive water management system to power the various saws and polishing machines in the two buildings.
For a long period the Carlisle company of Nixson and Denton worked the quarries and mill.
Floor tiles in the chancel of Dent Church
Wall tablet in white marble with Dent Marble surround, Dent Church, to Betsey Blades died April 1844.