Tyne and Wear HER(814): Wallsend vicus, Roman altar from ?temple - Details
Wallsend vicus, Roman altar from ?temple
Religion or Ritual
Religious Structural Object
In 1851 Bruce recorded and illustrated an altar found a few years earlier south of the south-west corner of the fort. "When discovered it was lying on the ground surrounded by a ring of twelve stones. Each stone was about one foot high and eight or ten inches broad; all twelve stones were roughly dressed. Coins were found under the altar and under several of the stones...". It is thought to denote the existence of a temple. The altar is uninscribed, 2 feet 8 inches x 1 foot 4 inches. It "is pierced by a circular hole, 6 inches in diameter, through the centre of the die...The opening is surrounded by twelve incised lines radiating from this central hole, and the design is perhaps meant for a rayed sun. The hole would allow a ray of light to pass through if inclined at not more than 45 degrees to the axis of the hole, and the altar could have been used in connection with sunrise and sunset".
<< HER 814 >> J.C. Bruce, 1851, The Roman Wall, p. 115 and pl. H. MacLauchlan , 1858, Memoir of a Survey of the Roman Wall, p. 7 n. 1 and fig. 4 G.R.B. Spain, ed. 1930, Inscribed and Sculptured Stones, Wallsend, Northumberland County History, XIII, p. 542 no. 4 P.T. Bidwell, N. Holbrook & M.E. Snape, 1991, The Roman Fort at Wallsend and its Environs, p. 5 no. 23, (and p. 3 no. 6)