Roman actor's mask

Contributed by Warrington Museum

At first glace this pottery mask looks like a piece of sculpture but the holes at the side imply it was actually worn over the face, perhaps attached to a wig or hood. It was found at the Roman site of Wilderspool in Stockton Heath near Warrington and it was made locally. It was donated to Warrington Museum in the 1870s by the Kendrick family.

This object is very rare and there are only a handful of similar Roman masks known in Europe. It could have been worn by an actor in a play, but other suggestions for its use include a funeral mask, a potter's practice piece or a form used to shape leather or fabric masks.

If it was indeed an actor's mask, could this mean there is a Roman theatre still waiting to be found in Stockton Heath?

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