The intaglio from Ewell
The excavation this year in the glebe meadow was designed to explore the possibility of further occupational sites alongside Stane Street. Areas on both sides of the line of the road have been examined, the south side proving to be sterile. On the north side, in somewhat disturbed ground, part of an open-air hearth and, recently, a wall trench and a pit of Roman date have been uncovered. Material has been rather scanty, but an unusual find was a small intaglio seal. The dig, which is being continued at weekends, was greatly assisted in the summer by a team from Glyn School. As before, we are greatly indebted to St. Mary’s PCC and to Mr. Dick Curtis for permission to dig.
The intaglio has been submitted to Dr. Martin Henig, FSA, of the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford, a leading authority on gemstones. He has very kindly sent us the following report.
‘The “gem”, which is ovoid in shape and has a bevelled edge, is made of glass paste. It is very dark brown in colour, with a whitish upper surface imitative of onyx. Its dimensions are 15 x 11 x 2 mm.
The moulded device yields an impression which shows a youthful male figure, BONUS EVENTUS, standing with his body towards the front and his head facing left. Its attributes are admittedly not clearly distinguished but are certain from a study of other examples of this common type, both from Britain and elsewhere. The figure type of Bonus Eventus shown here is derived from a fourth century BC statue which stood in Rome, probably by Praxiteles. However our paste is clearly very much later. The shape of the gem, its material and the coarse style of its execution are suggestive of a date in the third century AD’.