18th March, 2015
An important Roman site was discovered not far from Housesteads on the Roman Wall in Northumberland in 1949.
Next to the remains of the fort of Brocolitia lies the remains of a Mithraic Temple. Here archeologists found altars and timbers preserved in the local waterlogged conditions. Mithras (a Greek name for a Persian god Mithra), was worshipped in a mystery religion practised in the Roman Empire from the 1st to the 4th centuries AD.
Visitors should know that the three altars depicted in the photograph are cement reproductions of originals displayed in the Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle upon Tyne. These altars (together with other artefacts) are arranged at the site in the way they would have looked in the 4th century.
The fort at Brocolitia ( an interpretation of this name refers to badgers) was constructed mainly by the Sixth Legion. There was a settlement nearby. One of the inscribed stones found at the site was a tombstone made for a soldiers wife. It said "To the shades of the departed Aelia Comindo, 32 years old. Nobilianus the Decurion, placed this for a most lovely wife."
There are existing organisations dedicated to reviving the cult of Mithras. One such is to be found at www.mithraeum.info.