Plaster cast of a Roman child's face, Paris, France, 1878-1920

Made:
1860-1920 in Paris
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Plaster cast of a child's face, from a mould accidently made when cement seal of sarcophagus leaked inside and covered childs face, found in France in 1878, Roman, 1st century AD, cast 1878-1920

The handwritten French label on the reverse of this tiny plaster cast explains its history. In 1878, a stone Roman burial sarcophagus was found in the gardens of a Paris convent. When a tiny Roman child died 1800 years before, cement sealing the sarcophagus leaked inside and formed a mould of the child’s face. This plaster cast was created using that mould sometime between its discovery and 1920. The translation states the child was buried with a perfectly preserved small glass bottle. However, there is no indication of the cause of death.

The label indicates the child came from Arènes de Lutèce, a prosperous and important Gallo-Roman town within modern day Paris. The Roman remains of Arènes de Lutèce were rediscovered in the 1860s during excavations for the building of a new tram stop.

Details

Category:
Classical & Medieval Medicine
Object Number:
A656209
type:
plaster cast
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
  • cast
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture

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