Gilt Roman horse head found in Germany

In a scene straight out ancient Rome’s versions of “The Godfather”, German archaeologists have uncovered the beautifully preserved horse’s head from a Roman equestrian statue.

The life-size statue is gold-plated bronze, and they also found the foot of the rider, thought to be Augustus.

“This bronze sculpture counts among the best pieces to have ever been found from the area of the former Roman empire,” said Eva Kuehne-Hoermann, Hesse’s minister for science, at the unveiling of the head in Frankfurt on Thursday. “Nowhere else is there a finding of this form or quality.”

It dates to 3 or 4 BC, the time when the Roman outpost in the area was founded. Five or so years later, after Rome’s dramatic defeat in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, German tribesmen dismembered the statue and threw the head in a well.

That turned out to be good news for us, because the water in the well actually helped preserve the head for us to find. Restoration will still take a couple of years, but once it’s done, the pieces will be exhibited in a museum in Hesse.

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3 Comments »

Comment by LadyShea
2009-09-02 12:23:01

I can’t wait to see that restored! It’s gonna be purty.

Comment by livius drusus
2009-09-02 12:27:17

I wonder how much of the gilding is still there. There’s visible gold on the left nostril, but the rest looks like the oxidized bronze.

 
 
Comment by Tiffany
2010-10-04 15:16:48

Hi,

We are interested in knowing the source you used for the horsehead2.jpg image found on your blog url:

http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/2944

Could you tell us where you found it? We are trying to find the copyright holder so we can use it in our documentary.

Any information would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Tiffany

 
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