Archaeologists find Roman house ‘covered in metal penis amulets’

Rob Waugh
Roman ‘fascinum’ (Stock picture, Wikimedia Commons)

A Roman house uncovered in northern Israel has offered an insight into one of ancient Rome’s less well-known fashions – penis amulets.

A layer of phallic amulets was found at an intricate house at Omrit in northern Israel – thought to date back 1,900 years.

Romans often wore phallic charms – known as a fascinum – and they were particularly often worn by young boys and soldiers.

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Several of the amulets were found on top of the house, acccording to researchers from Carthage College in Wisconsin.

Picture Dan Showalter

Professor Daniel Schowalter said: ‘One would guess that it might have been commissioned by a Roman official who was stationed in the area, but it could also be the home of a local elite who adopted some traditional Roman motifs in decoration.’

Professor Showalter said that the excavated area ‘was probably a courtyard, since the doorway we have opens into the ‘house’ proper. In other words, you could be locked out in that area.’