Remains of a Roman building on Hadrian's Wall
Photo: Jerry Harmer/ AP
Almost 30 semi-precious stones have been found by archaeologists on Hadrian's Wall, an ancient Roman border wall near today's border between Scotland and England.
This is reported by the British news site "Guardian".
Accordingly, the precious stones were apparently lost by their former owners almost 2000 years ago while bathing.
The stones are engraved gems, including an amethyst depicting Venus and a reddish-brown jasper depicting a satyr seated on a rock beside a sacred pillar.
According to the researchers, the stones apparently fell out of their ring settings because their glue had probably been weakened in the steaming baths.
They were probably simply flushed down the drain when the pools and saunas were cleaned.
Similar gems have been recovered from drains at York and at Caerleon near Newport.
The Romans apparently faced the problem of taking valuables into the water with them or exposing themselves to the risk of being robbed by a thief while they were bathing.
The bathhouse was located near the most important Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall, on what was then the northern border of the Roman Empire.
It housed an elite unit of cavalry and had ties to the imperial court.
Excavations will continue next year.