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Roman carving of a phallus, found in village between Grantham and Sleaford, to go on display

Roman artefact found in Braceby has been donated to The Collection Museum in Lincoln. Photo: The Collection Museum
Roman artefact found in Braceby has been donated to The Collection Museum in Lincoln. Photo: The Collection Museum

Soon to go on display at a museum in Lincoln is a Roman carving of a phallus, discovered in the small village of Braceby near Grantham.

Carved on to a large piece of roughly cut limestone, the image is of an erect phallus pointing towards a further carving archaeologists believe is either a vagina or an ‘evil eye’.

The museum’s Antony Lee explained: “The ‘evil eye’, a symbol of unspecified fear and threat, was one of the things the phallus warded against and often appeared alongside phallic imagery in Roman art.”

The rock, which is believed to have originally been inserted into the wall of a building, is the latest addition to The Collection Museum, handed over by its finders who came across it in Braceby in 1995. It was previously used as a garden ornament.

Mr Lee referred to the use of phallic imagery as an “obsession” for the Romans, adding that it is prevalent in Roman art and archaeology.

It many cases it was not intended to be pornographic, but was instead used as a symbol of protection and of promoting good fortune.

Mr Lee said: “Such imagery is well known from Britain and from Lincolnshire.

“The museum collections and archaeological displays already contain examples of phallic bone and copper alloy pendants, a greyware ceramic spout and even a carving from Long Bennington of a man riding a winged phallus.

“The monumental Roman city walls at Lincoln had at least one phallic carving on them and probably more, adding a spiritual dimension to the physical protection offered by the stones of the wall.”


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