Mithras and the Portable Antiquities Scheme database

Another day another database, or so it sometimes seems.  But this is not a complaint!  On the contrary, it makes accessible material that no-one could ever see.

Today I learn via Cultural Property Observer of the PAS database.

The information provided by members of the public over the last 15 years is available for all to see on the PAS database. This now contains around 810,000 items and spans objects dating from the Stone Age to Anglo-Saxon, Roman, medieval, and post-medieval times. Every entry includes archaeological information on the object in question, details of where it was discovered and often incorporates notes of scholarly interest. The database provides a historical snapshot of human settlement in England and Wales and is an awesome example of what can be achieved by harnessing the power of the public.

Now that sounded interesting, so I headed over there and typed Mithras into the search box.  Three results came up, one of them interesting:

A Roman copper-alloy figurine depicting Cautopates, Mithras’ attendant who symbolises darkness. He is shown holding a torch pointing downwards in his right hand and his left hand is placed on his waist. Cautopates stands facing forwards with his head turned slightly to the right, his legs crossed at the calves and with his left hand placed on the left hip. He wears a Phrygian cap, trousers, a short-sleeved tunic, a cloak and has mid-length tousled hair. The cloak is ornamented with V-shaped motifs and grooved, curved lines on the trousers and tunic represent the folds of the cloth. The figurine is 81.5mm long, 33.9mm wide and 11.2mm thick. It is not free-standing and despite the lack of evidence for an attachment it must have been fixed to a base.

The article continues, full of useful data.  It’s undateable, of course, and comes from Yorkshire.  Usefully there are a couple of excellent photographs.  And these are downloadable!




2 thoughts on “Mithras and the Portable Antiquities Scheme database

  1. Amusingly, Dollar General now carries a striped curtain set that’s called Mithras. Why? Who knows? (I’ll have to take a picture, because it’s not on their website.)

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