The Tripontium Collection

After many years' wait Rugby now has its own Museum.  This is situated in the centre of the town on the site of the old library in Little Elborow Street.  It is part of a large complex comprising Library, Museum and Art Gallery.  The Library opened in March 2000, the Museum opened to the public on Tuesday 18th April 2000 and the Art Gallery opened on 16th May 2000.

The Museum provides an ideal resting place for the finds recovered so far from the excavations at Tripontium, the Tripontium Collection.  The Trustees of the Collection handed the Collection to the Museum on long term loan in the build-up to the opening of the Museum.  It is important to us that people in the Rugby area, and others visiting the Museum, can see evidence of the work that has been carried out in the last 40 years by Rugby Archaeological Society and have access to the important finds from the excavations.  It is particularly pleasing that the Collection has found a home in such a fine location so near to the Roman town.  An excellent exhibition incorporating the important items from the Collection has been designed to occupy the circular gallery of the Museum.  In December 2006, the Gallery was renamed the Jack Lucas Archaeology Gallery. For people interested in Tripontium, or Roman history in general, a visit to the Museum is a must.

One of the most important finds is the very fine late Roman bronze "belt buckle" or strap-end, which the Society has adopted as its logo.  The condition is almost perfect, length 7.1cm.  This artefact is important because it contains Christian symbols, particularly the peacocks, Tree of Life motif, swasticas or whirligigs and fish (Hawkes 1972, pp144-159).

Other finds that are of great importance are locally made Roman tiles or tegulae containing graffiti.  One tile reconstructed from several pieces, contains the name of the British tribe local to the Leicestershire area.  Before this tile had been found, the tribe was known as the Coritani, but following research conducted by Roger Tomlin  the tribe is now known as the Corl el Tauvi (Tomlin 1983, pp353-362). 

Inscribed on another pieced-together tegula from Tripontium is the complete Roman alphabet, indicating literacy in the local population.  There is also part of a tegula that appears to show birds feeding from the Tree of Life, echoing the early Christian symbols depicted on the peacock belt buckle.

Hawkes, S.C (1972) A Late Roman Buckle from Tripontium, Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society 1972, Vol 85 pp144-159.

Tomlin, R.S.O. (1983) Non Coritani Sed Corieltauvi, The Antiquaries Journal 1983, Vol LXIII, Part II, pp353-362.

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