On Wednesday (1st April), the Trust completed our archaeological excavation at Moverons Quarry in Brightlingsea. This has been a long-running project, and it produced a great deal of very interesting evidence. In September 2014, we also made a remarkable find on the site. Now that we have finished our fieldwork there, we would like to share the find with you. It is a bronze Roman figurine, about four inches high, of an upright bird with a human head. Trust archaeologist Ben Holloway made the discovery, in the top part of the fill of a field-boundary ditch. We excavated fragments of Roman pottery and imbrex(roof-tile) from the same context. The figurine is at a secure location but has not yet been sent away for conservation or to be studied by a specialist, so our preliminary comments here are purely speculative!
Trust senior archaeologist Howard Brooks thinks that it is an intriguing find: we don’t know if it was lost, displaced, discarded, or deposited as a votive in a burial or at a shrine. We think that the figurine represents a harpy. It is quite finely detailed, and is in the form of an upright bird with a woman’s head and with small wings which are fully open. The figure has feathers and talons, and braided hair; however, it seems to have a serpent’s tail which functions as a support. It is standing on a damaged base and also seems to have been attached at the top of the support. A harpy was a figure in Greek and Roman mythology and harpies are often represented in ancient art and literature. There were three harpies: they were the daughters of Thaumas (son of the sea) and Electra (daughter of Oceanus) in Greek mythology. Their names were Aello, Ocypete and Celaeno. The harpies originated as beautiful winged women, goddesses, but over time they developed into monsters. They were spirits of the wind or storm winds. They were employed by the gods to punish or carry wrong-doers to the Underworld, or as messengers from the Underworld. Trust archaeologist Emma Holloway thinks that the figurine is similar to two figures which decorate the two front corners of a small, portable, domestic Roman brazier or grate for indoor use, at Pompeii.
We have discovered other complete Roman figurines of mythological figures at Colchester, over the years: the Minerva from the St Mary’s hospital site; a bronze Venus; a copper-alloy Abundantia or Fortuna from the Cups Hotel site; and a copper-alloy Mercury from the Balkerne Lane site. A bronze figurine of Jupiter, king of the Roman gods, was found at St Mary’s Lodge in 1844 and, in 1945, Mr Albert Beales ploughed up a Roman bronze statuette of Mercury at Gosbecks (now on display in Colchester Castle Museum). The figurine of a harpy has also been found at York. Interestingly, we discovered the figurine at Brightlingsea only weeks after we discovered the hoard of Roman treasure at the Williams & Griffin store in the High Street at Colchester!
We will publish a specialist’s report on the figurine in our final report on the site at Brightlingsea.
The image shows the figurine, before cleaning and conservation (from the front and in profile).
2012 Goddesschess Canadian Women's Closed Chess Championship
Hales Corners Chess Challenge XIX April 12, 2014 Milwaukee, WI Prizes for female players in Open and Reserve sections and paid entry to next HCCC for top female finisher in each section. This is Goddesschess' 12th HCCC!
2014 Grand Pacific Open Easter Weekend, 2014 Victoria, BC Prizes and sponsorship for chess femmes
Goddesschess Fighting Spirit Award
2013 U.S. Women's Chess Championship
Hales Corners Chess Challenge XVIII October 12, 2013 Milwaukee, WI Record prize money awarded to chess femmes - $800! In honor of National Chess Day and the one year anniversary of the passing of our webmaster, researcher and writer, Don McLean, additional prizes of $150 were awarded to the top two male finishers in each Section. Milwaukee Summer Challenge II June 15 - 16, 2013 Milwaukee, WI Prizes for the chess femmes and funding a best game prize
2013 U.S. Women's Chess Championship May, 2013 St. Louis, MO Goddesschess Fighting Spirit Award awarded to Anna Zatonskih Hales Corners Chess Challenge XVII April 13, 2013 Milwaukee, WI Goddesschess prizes totaled $540: $180 paid to female players in the Open $290 paid to female players in the Reserve $70 paid for the top female players' entry to Challenge XVIII in October, 2013
2013 Grand Pacific Open Easter Weekend March 29 - April 1, 2013 Victoria, BC Prizes for female players and additional sponsorship to support appearance of a WGM
Hales Corners Challenge XVI
Prizes for Chess Femmes
2012 Milwaukee Summer Challenge July 14-15, 2012
Prizes for Chess Femmes
Hales Corners Challenge XV
Prizes for the Chess Femmes
2012 Grand Pacific Open
Open Prizes for Top 5 Women
Hales Corners Challenge XVI October 20, 2012
2012 Goddesschess Canadian Women's Chess Championship (Zonal) August 4 - 11, 2012
Milwaukee Summer Challenge by Southwest Chess Club July, 2012
I'm one of the founders of Goddesschess, which went online May 6, 1999. I earned an under-graduate degree in history and economics going to college part-time nights, weekends and summer school while working full-time, and went on to earn a post-graduate degree (J.D.) I love the challenge of research, and spend my spare time reading and writing about my favorite subjects, travelling and working in my gardens. My family and my friends are most important in my life. For the second half of my life, I'm focusing on "doable" things to help local chess initiatives, starting in my own home town. And I'm experiencing a sort of personal "Renaissance" that is leaving me rather breathless...