Skip to content

Pottery symbols show 4th century Christians in London

Christians were living in the London area as early as the fourth century, say researchers ...

Christians were living in the London area as early as the fourth century, say researchers ...

Volunteers at the Museum of London's Archaelogical Archive have found Christian symbols on a pottery fragment originally excavated in Brentford High Street in 1970. Its value was not noticed at the time.

The piece has been described as a "tantalizing find" because it sheds light on the spread of Christianity from London in Roman times.

"At first we noticed there was some sort of mark on the pot and then quickly realized the significance of what we had," Archaeology Collections Manager Adam Corsini said.

The piece is marked with a monogram of a chi (X) and rho (P), the first two letters of the Greek word "Christos," meaning Christ.

"Christian symbols from the Roman period are rare, especially from sites within Londinium's surrounding hinterland, which includes modern day Brentford, and there are only a few examples within our collections relating to London," Corsini told the Daily Mail.

Roy Stephenson, head of Archaeological Collections, told MailOnline that he has only found six examples of Christian symbols on Roman artifacts from London.

"Although we can't say from one object that Roman London and its hhinterland were practicing Christianity, it does suggest that Christians were at least present at some point in 4th century Roman Brentford," Corsini said.

PHOTO: Museum of London

Get more inspiring reading

We are continuing to produce seasonal 'mini magazines' and make them available for you to use offering encouraging, engaging content – still stories, still jargon-free, still designed to be given away, still free. Our latest, an 8-page issue for Christmas 2019, will be available very soon – order HERE from CPO.