Archaeology, Archaeology Research

Romano-British temple hearths and cold Christian churches

I’m just reading through a 1963 article detailing the excavations at the Romano-British temple site at Brigstock, and I was struck by how much the author really doesn’t want to consider that the hearths on the surface of the floors might actually be contemporary with the shrines.

I wonder if it’s a Christian thing? I know that British churches are unremittingly cold, with no apparent method of heating them (medieval ones at least), but is it so strange that the Romans might have liked a little comfort? Or that maybe they sat together and had a hot meal as part of their worship? Just because medieval Christians suffered in horrible cold churches, why couldn’t the Romans be a bit more into creature comforts!

That said, it seems a tad creepy to be sitting eating dinner knowing you’re sitting inches above the body of a sheep with a coin in its mouth. But that’s just me – I’m sure it made perfect sense for the Romans!

Greenfield, E., 1963. The Romano-British shrines at Brigstock, Northants. Antiquaries Journal, 43, 228-263.

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