Week 2: Shrine to Mercury
Shrine to Mercury
This lead shrine from Wallsend Roman Fort
is one of only three in Britain that still retain its central figure,
and the only one complete with its doors. It is made of five separate
elements, each originally cast in a clay mould. The figure inside is
Mercury, the god of trade and commercial success, story-telling,
communication and anything requiring skill and dexterity. He was also the herald and messenger of the gods, and was therefore the patron of
merchants, carriers, travellers and thieves. Mercury was one of the
most popular gods in Britain and there is evidence for a temple
dedicated to him at Wallsend.
Mercury was often shown with winged shoes and helmet and carries a staff called the caduceus, as a symbol of peace.
You can find out more information about the shrine from our Keeper of Archaeology, Alex Croom by exploring her blog.
Why not have a go at making your own Mercury winged crown and caduceus?
You could use:
For the caduceus
- 1x Caduceus template printed out (or copy the shapes onto some card)
- A wooden spoon, ruler or stick
- Tin foil
- Coloured pens, pencils or crayons
- Glue, tape
For the winged crown
- Wing template printed out (or copy the shape onto some card)
- Craft materials
- Stapler or tape
Download the templates
How to make Mercury's caduceus - step-by-step
Cut out and colour the caduceus template.
(If you’ve printed the template out onto paper you can glue it onto card before cutting the shapes out to make it stronger).
Wrap some tin foil around your wooden spoon, ruler or stick.
Tape the wings in place and wrap the snakes around the spoon handle, ruler or stick.
How to make Mercury's winged crown - step-by-step
Ask someone to measure a strip of card to fit your head then staple or tape the ends.
Cut out the wing templates and tape or staple these to the sides of your crown.
Use any craft materials you have or coloured pens, pencils or crayons to add extra decoration to your crown.