An archaeological dig in Gloucester has unearthed a bronze wing that dates back to the time of the British Romans. The 14cm (5.5in) long artefact was found in Brunswick Road.
Cotswold Archaeology had been working on the Greyfriars site ahead of the construction of a residential project when they found the object. It was covered with a thick layer of soil and corrosion.
When first studying the wing, archaeologists thought it to be part of a statue of an eagle considering the form and detailing is similar to those of statues of the bird. However, BBC reported that Dr Martin Henig, an expert on Roman sculpture at Oxford University, believes it belongs to a statue of Victoria, the goddess of victory.
The wing was found in the area that would have been near the city's Roman wall.
"Finds of Roman bronze sculpture are extremely rare finds from Britain, and very few depictions of Victoria or eagles are known from the province. The Gloucester example was recovered from the earthen bank which lay immediately behind the Roman city wall," the Cotswold Archaeology website stated.
Chief executive of the institute Neil Holbrook offered an idea of the origins of the wing in relation to the city. "This find once again demonstrates that Gloucester was a high ranking city in Roman Britain and that its public spaces must have been equipped with a number of bronze statues of gods and emperors," he said.
He claimed the find was "extremely rare" since "very few depictions of Victoria or eagles" have been found in the region.
"It would be nice to think a retired Roman soldier, spending his retirement years in Gloucester, had a nice statuette to Victory as thanks for making it through the Roman invasion of Britain in one piece," he added.
Following more tests, the wing will be on display at the Gloucester Museum.
The city has a long standing history of Roman occupation that dates back to the early 40s AD. It was even given one of the highest statuses of a town in the Roman empire — Colonia Nervia Glevensis by Emperor Nerva.