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Bosham Head in pride of place in Chichester museum

Molly, a year four pupil at Seaford Preparatory School, takes a closer look at the Bosham Head sculpture at The Novium.

Molly, a year four pupil at Seaford Preparatory School, takes a closer look at the Bosham Head sculpture at The Novium.

A GIANT stone head unearthed in Bosham more than two centuries ago is now on permanent display at The Novium museum.

The Bosham Head is thought to be a statue of the Roman emperor, Trajan, dating back to AD 122.

Experts say it is the largest Roman statue found in Britain. The head, which is twice life-size and made of Italian marble, was discovered in the garden 
of a vicarage in Bosham in about 1800.

The head is part of the museum’s collection which has been housed at the Discovery Centre at Fishbourne Roman Palace for many years. It was moved back to the museum in Tower Street earlier this year.

It now takes pride of place in the museum’s ground floor among the museum’s Roman exhibits.

Mystery has surrounded the head because the face has been so battered by weathering – possibly because it was in the sea at one point.

Specialists have felt there was not enough left of the face for a precise identification.

Recently Dr Miles Russell from Bournemouth University used 3D scanners to examine the 26-stone (170kg) head.

The 3D scanner enabled the experts to pick out facial features and a distinctive hairstyle, which led them to conclude it was most likely Emperor Trajan. They believe it was set up by Trajan’s successor, Hadrian, on a visit to Britain in AD 121-122 and would have greeted visitors as they entered Chichester Harbour.

Chichester District Council’s cabinet member for commercial services, Myles Cullen said: “We’re delighted to bring the Bosham Head into the museum’s permanent collection on show at The Novium. Its provenance has caused much interest since the statue arrived at The Novium.”

 

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