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This is a cover for a Roman funerary ash holder for human ash remains. A sculpted female figure reclines on the top, on a couch, holding a bunch of grapes in her right hand. It was described as a “lid” for a funeral chest but it does not appear very secure as a lid. It possibly sat over the top of a chest but might also have simply covered a hollow for the ashes which would be built into an alcove. This kind of sculpture is familiar in Etruscan funerary art, but unique in Britain and rare elsewhere in the Roman world. It could date from around the third century AD, at a time when the Roman custom of cremation was losing favour and burial was becoming more popular.
Scanned by Thomas Flynn on behalf of Sketchfab for the Cuming Museum.