6. Conclusion

Thus the figurines of Roman Britain show great variation in form and style, and are found on a wide range of site types and dates. This article presents the first detailed catalogue, combining published and unpublished data, for the whole province of Britannia. It not only provides an introduction to figurines, but also serves as a platform for further research.

Many issues were briefly touched upon, in particular the lack of contextual information which hinders the development of a chronology. The use of stylistic dating might help refine a chronology, but is fraught with problems, not the least being that these small works of art do not allow the presentation of details found on many larger objects. In addition, they may have been produced by regional craftsmen, with varying degrees of talent, who may or may not have wanted to produce a classical piece.

The small numbers of many types and lack of detailed context information makes it difficult to analyse the distribution of individual types in great detail, but there are some general patterns in the popularity of particular types among different parts of the population or on different site types such as temples. Some of these patterns will be discussed in forthcoming papers on the distribution of Eastern deities and the production of figurines with particularly native attributes.

The figurines of Britain do appear to be broadly similar to those on the Continent, but there are differences in form and style which show that Britain had a thriving artistic and religious community of its own. This catalogue will allow comparison with the Continental material and further research in this field might include detailed studies of particular types, such as the various styles of Mercury figurines, as well as broader considerations of the different forms found across the north-west provinces.


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