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Where was Cupid found in Gloucestershire just before Valentine’s Day?

Where was Cupid found in Gloucestershire just before Valentine’s Day?
Cupid figurine from Roman times found near Birdlip, Gloucestershire

A Roman Cupid figurine was discovered just before Valentine’s Day during survey work on the planned Missing Link Gloucestershire bypass near the Air Balloon pub at Birdlip that will provide a full dual-carriageway link between the M4 at Swindon and the M5 at Gloucester.

The figurine of the Roman God, Cupid, is a rare find (Image: Highways England)
The figurine of the Roman God, Cupid, is a rare find (Image: Highways England)

Archaeologists carrying out survey work for the A417 Missing Link near Cirencester have found a Cupid figurine believed to be almost 2,000 years old. The figurine depicting Cupid, the Roman God of love, was discovered along with a bow-shaped brooch and a Roman or early Saxon skeleton.

The items were found along the proposed 3.4-mile stretch of the new A417 Missing Link route near Birdlip and show what life in the area was like thousands of years ago.

In a statement, Highways England said: “The Cupid figurine is a rare find, with less than 50 known in the UK, and is one of only three that have been found as part of an archaeological dig as opposed to being found by metal detectorists. Made of solid bronze with wings and holding a flaming torch, the figurine was discovered in a deposit of charcoal, suggesting it could have been an offering to the Gods.”

All the finds are part of early survey works on the A417 Missing Link route. Survey work saw 335 trenches dug in fields around the route over a period of four months to help the project team learn more about what life was like on the site during Roman times, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Mel Barge, Inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England, said: “We have been advising Highways England on this proposed road scheme alongside the County Council Heritage Team. The cupid statue is a rare and exciting find. It will tell us about the lives and beliefs of the small Roman community that lived alongside this road 2,000 years ago.”

Jim Keyte, archaeology lead for the project, added: “The area of the project is rich in history, and the existing A417 largely follows the former Roman road between Cirencester and Gloucester; Birdlip itself has its origins as a Roman settlement. It has been fascinating to reveal more about the area and the people who once lived here. Our investigations will continue as the project progresses, and we expect more interesting discoveries to come.”

The A417 Missing Link improvement scheme is located within a rich archaeological landscape, with evidence dating back up to 2,000 years ago right through to the modern day.

 

 

 

 

 

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