Maryport Temples

Temple Or Shrine

Probable Mithraeum – Maryport 1

A building excavated in 1880, 165 yards east of the fort at Maryport … is of such a plan that it is difficult to believe it is not a Mithraeum, in view of its close resemblance to Carrawburgh (period 2) … The entrance lay on the east, leading through a narthex into a chamber paved with slabs in places, and ending in an alcove. Overall the building measured 46 ft. by 25 ft. with freestone walls averaging 2 ft. 6 in. thick : the west wall of the alcove had collapsed bodily outside. … A pedestal stood beside the outer door, an altar to jupiter just outside the alcove, … Further away, in the cemetery proper, a stone shaft carved with a head of snakes, if correctly interpreted as a Mithraic memorial, strengthens the identification of our building as a Mithraeum.” (Lewis, 1966, pp.106/7)

Possible Circular Temple – Maryport 2

Lying beside Temple#1, this perfectly circular building has walls 2½ feet wide with an outside diameter of 34 feet; a central post-hole once held the main roof pillar and there is evidence to suggest that the roof was supported by five radiating beams and the weight of the roof was transmitted to the ground by means of five external buttresses, three of which survived on the north and west. Its single entrance was on the north-east and a statue or altar base lay just outside. Excavations in the area revealed an illegible altarstone, two carved stone heads, and five Roman coins ranging from the early-late 2nd century, also a small statuette of the ‘Mother Goddesses’, perhaps an indication as to whom this suspected temple may have been dedicated (Lewis, 1966).

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