There is something about a face that can't help but make you wonder about
Particularly a scowling face like this, in gorgeously warm, worn terracotta clay. Extraordinarily this face once looked down from the roof of a Roman bath-house in Exeter nearly 2000 years ago. For the first time, the Roman immigration was making Devon part of an international Empire, which stretched from Britain to the Middle East and Africa. The Roman Legion only spent around 20 years in Exeter before destroying their fortress and moving on. Which makes this object even rarer.
Not just a pretty face, this is a type of roof tile called an antefix. It stopped the water from seeping in where the roof meets the wall. Except this wasn't just any old wall: it was the first stone building in Exeter, built around AD 60. Antefixes were used to seal the ends of the curved tiles (imbrices) which covered the vertical joint between the flat tiles (tegulae). The fierce faces, like the building itself, demonstrated the power and extent of the Roman Empire and anyone approaching the building would have felt this supremacy.