London Mithraeum to be reconstructed on original site

A truly interesting article at Past Horizons:

Temple of Mithras to be restored to its original location.

Plans to dismantle and move the  reconstructed Roman Temple of Mithras to temporary storage, ahead of a more  faithful reconstruction, will begin on the 21 November 2011 by Museum of London Archaeology.

The temple, which is located at Walbrook Square, was discovered by chance in  1952 by archaeologist WF Grimes as the site was being prepared for  redevelopment.

On the final day of excavation – September 18th 1954 – the marble head  of  the god of Mithras was unearthed.  Several more amazing artefacts,  including  some sculptures, were later found – these are now on display  in the Museum of  London’s Roman gallery.

The temple was dismantled at that time and the Roman building material put  into storage.  In 1962 the temple was reconstructed on a podium adjacent to  Queen Victoria Street, 90 metres from its original site, nine metres above its  original level and set in modern cement mortar.

In December 2010, Bloomberg LP, purchased the Walbrook Square site to build  its new European headquarters building. Listed building consent was granted for  the dismantling of the current Temple of Mithras reconstruction and expert stone  masons have been commissioned by Bloomberg to carefully extract the Roman stone  and tile from the 1960s cement mortar. The temple is due to be carefully  packaged up and moved to storage for the second time.

Bloomberg LP will restore the temple to its original Roman location and in a  more historically accurate guise. Upon completion of Bloomberg’s new  development, the new reconstruction of the Temple of Mithras will be housed in a  purpose-built and publicly accessible interpretation space within their new  building.

There are two rather splendid pictures too — one of the original excavation, and the other is an aerial shot of the rather forlorn looking current site.

The Museum of London Archaeology site has the same article here.   The MOLA (terrible acronym, sets your teeth on edge) site is well designed and looks like a good one with which to keep abreast of excavations in London.

The Museum of London site is rather less good, largely aimed at school-children, although I did find this reasonably useful article on the Mithraeum here, and one showing some of the finds here.  (On the other hand a bad article on Mithras is here, mistakenly supposing  that Mithras was the same as Mithra).  There is an image of a Tauroctony from the site here.

2 thoughts on “London Mithraeum to be reconstructed on original site

  1. Except that there was a pop-group called “The Moles” in the 60’s whose single was “We are the moles”.

    I don’t think there’s been a successful hit by any group called “The archaeologists”?

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