About 30 semi-precious stones were discovered by archaeologists nearly 2,000 years after their owners lost them at what is now Carlisle, near Hadrian's Wall in Britain, Planet Today reported.
The stones fell out of the rings as the glue with which they were held probably dissolved in the steam baths. As a result, they were simply flushed down the drain when cleaning pools and saunas.
The stones, some only a few millimeters in diameter, have images carved on them, the exquisite craftsmanship of which suggests that at one time, at the end of the 2nd or 3rd century, they were quite expensive objects and their loss must have upset their owners. Thus, one amethyst is decorated with an image of Venus holding a flower or a mirror. And on a reddish-brown jasper there is an image of a satyr sitting on the rocks near a sacred column.
The bathhouse where the finds were made was adjacent to the main Roman fort on Hadrian's Wall, the northern border of the Empire. The elite cavalry was located there and many people were associated with the imperial court.
Scholars note that in addition to their decorative purpose as rings worn by both men and women, their images had symbolism. Recently discovered intaglios include military motifs such as the god Mars with his spear and fertility, and a particularly cute image of a mouse gnawing on a branch - the Romans saw mice as symbols of rebirth or fertility.