The Mysterious Mastery of the Roman Dodecahedron: A Lincoln Discovery That Has Archaeologists Buzzing!

The newly discovered dodecahedron photographed during the dig. Credit: Norton Disney Archaeology Group
the newly discovered dodecahedron photographed during the dig. credit: norton disney archaeology group

Welcome to a journey into the past that has the archaeological world excited! Just recently, in the charming environs of Norton Disney near Lincoln, a beautifully crafted Roman dodecahedron was unearthed, creating a wave of excitement and curiosity among both the local community and international history enthusiasts.

What makes this find so intriguing, you ask? Well, let’s explore the mystique and mastery surrounding this peculiar artifact.

The Enigma Unearthed: The Norton Disney Dodecahedron

During a community-led excavation by the Norton Disney Archaeology Group (of which I am proudly the treasurer), an extraordinary discovery was made in the form of a Roman dodecahedron. This artifact is remarkable not only for its rarity but also for its inscrutable purpose and intricate design.

Imagine holding a 12-sided object, each face a perfect pentagon, with a series of holes and knobs that challenge even the most seasoned archaeologists to decipher their purpose. That’s our dodecahedron for you! Crafted from a copper alloy and exhibiting craftsmanship that speaks volumes of the artisan’s skill, this object is a historical masterpiece.

But here’s the intriguing part: no written records or depictions from ancient Rome mention these dodecahedra. They remain wrapped in mystery, with their presence predominantly noted across northern Europe and Britain, but strikingly absent from Italy. The plot thickens, doesn’t it?

A Discovery That Echoes Through Time

The Norton Disney find is particularly special for several reasons. First, its size — it’s one of the largest of its kind found in Britain. And its condition? Impeccable! It’s as if it was crafted yesterday, not centuries ago. This level of preservation is uncommon and provides us a pristine window into its construction and beauty.

The moment of discovery was nothing short of magical. The air was filled with the collective energy and thrilled gasps of the archaeology team as the dodecahedron was carefully freed from its earthen tomb. It was a moment of connection across time, touching something tangible from an era long past.

Theories Abound: From Sacred Objects to Sophisticated Gadgets

What might it have been used for? Theories abound. Some suggest religious significance, others propose practical uses like measuring instruments, or even knitting tools (for the fashion-conscious Romans?). There’s a delightful conjecture that they might have been elite stress-relief toys—a notion that endears the dodecahedron to modern sensibilities.

Yet, despite these theories, the true purpose of these objects remains a captivating mystery, making each find an exciting addition to the puzzle.

Beyond the Dodecahedron: The Historical Narrative of Norton Disney

The site of the dodecahedron’s discovery is historically rich, layered with artifacts that span from the Iron Age to the Roman period. A short distance away lies a Roman villa, unearthed in 1935, which adds depth to the narrative of the land’s ancient occupants.

This area is more than just a site for old relics; it’s a tableau of lives lived and lost, each layer a story waiting to be told. With pottery shards and skeletal remains painting a picture of sustained settlement and usage, every trench and trial pit whispers secrets of the past.

What Lies Ahead: Unveiling the Mysteries

As we prepare to return to the site for further excavation, the anticipation is palpable. Every scoop of soil could be a revelation, every brushed-off artifact a key to understanding. The excitement lies not just in discovery but in the collective endeavor of unraveling history’s mysteries together.

Join us on this thrilling archaeological adventure, where every find is a narrative, and every theory a doorway to the past. The story of the Roman dodecahedron is far from over, and with each study, scan, and scientific test, we step closer to understanding the ingenuity of our ancestors.

Stay tuned, for history is alive, and its mysteries await the patient and the passionate. Who knows what secrets the next layer of soil will reveal?

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