A rare Roman millstone decorated with a giant phallus is to take up residence at a Cambridgeshire museum next week.
The stone dating back as far as the second century AD is thought to be one of only four known Roman millstones decorated with a penis in Britain, was discovered in February.
It is among more than 20,000 Roman millstones which have been logged in Britain over many years.
Its discovery followed a large excavation of ancient artefacts during improvement works for the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, which ended last year.
Experts then combed through more than 300 Roman objects to assess their significance. There were also other ancient finds including mammoth tusks and evidence of some of the first beer brewing in the country.
The stone will be presented to Godmanchester Museum, where it will stay for at least the rest of the year, in a ceremony with archaeologists and local dignitaries on July 31.
At the presentation, another similar stone will be shown which was found in Stow Longa, a village eight miles west of Huntingdon.
The stone bears testimony to the Romans’ belief that the penis brought them good luck as a symbol of strength and virility.
It is also testimony to the Romans being early recyclers, as the stone has been honed down from a larger millstone.
The stone will be welcomed to the museum by town mayor Cllr Cliff Thomas and museum curator Kate Hadley.
Archaeologist Dr Ruth Shaffrey, an expert in Roman millstones, will speak about the significance of the stone.
Ms Hadley said: “The stone’s rarity is phenomenal – one of just four in the whole of the Roman Province.
“The millstone has massive magic properties and magic is at the foundation of the Roman Empire. These are to do with fertility, wealth, good harvest, heaven’s blessing and to ward off the evil eye.
“The millstone is to help make bread which makes up about 70 per cent of the daily Roman British diet and of course soldiers were sometimes paid with bread, so the millstone is another foundation to Roman British society.
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“The phallus has another set of magic properties – a phallus is often used on a house wall or jewellery to protect against the evil eye, for wealth, popularity, bravery (there are plenty on Hadrian’s Wall which were to encourage the soldiers there, but on bricks not millstones).
“So a phallus on a millstone is double magic. This one was buried as a votive item before the Romans left.”
The stone is on loan to Godmanchester Museum from Cambridgeshire County Council.