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The Roman collection includes over 47,000 objects that evidence the ancient city of Londinium at work, worship, rest and play. Most of the objects were recovered during building operations in the City of London and Southwark.
The museum holds the largest collection of samian ware in the country. In addition, because of the extensive burial evidence found around London, it has a high number of complete vessels and large fragments of other ceramic types. These provide invaluable reference material to excavated sites where ceramic evidence is often fragmentary
The collection includes the best examples of Roman sculpture to be found in Britain in the form of the marble statues from the Temple of Mithras and an outstanding array of metalwork recovered from the nearby bed of the Walbrook stream.
The superbly preserved nature of the metal collection and the wide-ranging selection of domestic, industrial and religious artefacts make this perhaps the best collection in Britain. The metalwork collection as a whole, ranging from iron hipposandals to knives, spoons, jewellery, tools and toilet implements, provides an unsurpassed collection of everyday items that are invaluable for displays as well as for more specialised research.
Other elements of the Roman collection include coins, glass, wood, leather and bone. The coin collection provides useful reference material in support of the excavated coins held at the Museum of London Archaeological Archive.
Similarly the glass collections support the excavated material to form a highly significant body of evidence for the use and manufacture of glass in the city.
The leather collections are made up of around 1,500 pieces and are a valuable resource for the study of Roman leather-working techniques, particularly shoe manufacture. The most famous pieces are fragments of four 'bikinis' which are unparalleled in Britain. The wood collection includes a ladder, a complete barrel and writing tablets.