A phallic symbol and insult on a rock slab unearthed by an amateur archaeologist near Hadrian’s Wall suggests that “Secundinus” was not a popular bloke in the military fort in Roman times
Image: Vindolanda Charitable Trust / SW SWNS)
An amateur archaeologist was stumped and a little red-faced after unearthing an ancient Roman insult near Hadrian’s Wall.
Retired biochemist Dylan Herbert excavated a slab of rock about 40cm x 15cm in the outlying fort of Vindolanda near Hexham, on which was carved not only a crude image of a penis but also a rather rude inscription.
Above the phallic symbol, often used in Roman times as a sign of good luck or fertility, were scrawled the words “secvndinvs cacor”, which translates to “Secundinus the Destroyer”.
dr Andrew Birley, Excavation Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Vindolanda Trust, said of the amazing graffiti find: “The author clearly had a major problem with Secundinus and felt confident enough to publicly announce his thoughts on a stone.
Vindolanda Charity Foundation / SW SWNS)
“I have no doubt they would have been less than amused to see this.
“Recovering an inscription, a direct message from the past, is always a big event at a Roman dig, but this one really raised our eyebrows when we deciphered the message.
“It shows something as childish as graffiti did back then and hopefully now we can find an answer from Secundinus.”
Experts believe the stone is dated to the third century AD, just before Vindolanda was abandoned in AD 370.
And the man who found the objectionable work of art initially thought it was just an ordinary rock… before turning it over.
Volunteer digger Dylan explained: “I’d been removing a lot of debris all week and to be honest I had this rock in my way – I was glad to be told I could remove it from the trench.
AFP via Getty Images)
“It looked like all the others from behind, a very ordinary stone, but when I turned it over I was startled to see some distinct letters.
“It was only after we removed the mud that I realized the full extent of what I had uncovered and I was absolutely blown away.”
It is not the first carving of a phallus to be found at this site, as 13 previous ones have been discovered, which is more than any other site along Hadrian’s Wall, stretching from Bowness-on-Solway in the west to Wallsend in the east.
The stone is now being cleaned in a laboratory and will be exhibited in Vindolanda next year.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/archaeologist-digs-up-1800-year-27078307 Archaeologist unearths 1,800-year-old slab near Hadrian's Wall carved with penis graffiti