Temple Courtyard and Minerva

Proceed through the suspended walkway above the Temple courtyard, and explore the sacred area, where Roman worshippers gathered to pray to the goddess Sulis Minerva.

This was the place where sacrifices were made at the great altar. There are many altar stones and inscriptions here. Visitors can also see breathtaking digital reconstructions of the Roman temple courtyard in this area of the museum.

Minerva's head

The gilt bronze head of the goddess Sulis Minerva is one of the best known objects from Roman Britain. Gilt bronze sculptures are rare finds from Roman Britain as only two other fragments are known. The head is probably from the cult statue of the deity which would have stood within the Temple beside the Sacred Spring, and may well date from the first century AD. Read a more detailed description of Minerva's head here.

Image: Minerva's head

Haruspex stone

The haruspex stone was found in an excavation in 1965. The inscription reveals that the stone was set up by L. Marcius Memor, a haruspex, who was a special kind of priest. It was dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva and is likely to have supported her statue. The haruspex had the power to advise on the meaning of omens and might be consulted before an important event or proposed course of action.

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