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Plaster cast of a Roman child's face, Paris, France, 1878-1920

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The handwritten French label on the reverse of this tiny plaster cast explains its history. In 1878, a stone Roman burial sarcophagus was found in the gardens of a Paris convent. When a tiny Roman child died 1800 years before, cement sealing the sarcophagus leaked inside and formed a mould of the child’s face. This plaster cast was created using that mould sometime between its discovery and 1920. The translation states the child was buried with a perfectly preserved small glass bottle. However, there is no indication of the cause of death. The label indicates the child came from Arènes de Lutèce, a prosperous and important Gallo-Roman town within modern day Paris. The Roman remains of Arènes de Lutèce were rediscovered in the 1860s during excavations for the building of a new tram stop.

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Glossary: plaster cast

No description.

Glossary: death mask

A cast taken of a person's face after death, usually made from plaster or wax.

Glossary: mourning

Trial term S&H