An extremely rare find of a wing from a Roman bronze sculpture of an eagle has been found in Gloucester by Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology.

The wing was found at the base of the later Roman rampart close to Brunswick Road where we are investigating a site ahead of the construction of the Greyfriars Development by Linden Homes.

The wing is 14 cm long and when it was found it was covered with a thick layer of soil, although some cast-in detail was visible in places. An x-ray image, taken before the object is cleaned and stabilised, clearly shows the extent of the surviving detail which is representative of plumage and flight feathers.

An X-ray shows the fine depictions of plumage and feathers. Image: Cotswold Archaeology
An X-ray shows the fine depictions of plumage and feathers. Image: Cotswold Archaeology

The most likely interpretation is that the wing came from a figurine of an eagle. The eagle was of particular significance to imperial Rome, adopted by the military as a symbol of strength and prowess. Eagles were also an attribute of the god Jupiter, and sometimes accompanied representations of the god.

News source: Cotswold Archaeology