Show Navigation

Roman

Ritual and religion

Celtic head showing Roman influence

Period:
Roman Period
Description:

This head may represent a goddess, possibly Briget or Rhiannon.

 

The symbol of the severed head is as representative of the Celtic religion as the cross is of Christianity. The Celts, like many primitive peoples, believed that to gain possession of the head of an enemy implied military prowess. At the same time, the human head was believed to protect the fortress or home, ensuring good luck and success.

 

Birrnes Roman Fort

 

The remains of this fort are quite impressive when approached from the south, where its southern defences, arranged along the edge of a natural scarp above the river are now covered in gorse bushes. The remains of stone-built buildings are visible across the whole of the interior, all beneath an overlying blanket of turf, except at the south-east corner, where several courses of stonework are visible; these belong not to the fort's defences but to buildings in the retentura or rear of the camp, the corner-angle itself having been lost to erosion. The extensive ditch system and entrance causeway is especially prominent on the north, and a scatter of shaped stones on the west rampart marks the position of the gateway on this side.

 The only classical reference for the name of the Birrens encampment is contained in the Antonine Itinerary of the late-second century. Iter II, "the route from the 'Entrenchments' to the port of Rutupiae, four-hundred and eighty-one thousand paces", details the journey from Hadrian's Wall to Richborough in Kent. In this itinerary the name Blato bulgio appears as the northern terminus, some 12 Roman miles from Castra Exploratorum (Netherby, Cumbria), both stations lying beyond the Wall of Hadrian.


Materials/Media:
sandstone
Dimensions:
H 200mm, W 160mm, D 160mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1950.53.3
Digital Number:
DMST013n
Copyright:
Dumfries & Galloway Council