60 years ago, archaeologists digging in the London clay disturbed an ancient god from its centuries-long slumber. A Roman temple devoted to Mithras, a mysterious deity with Persian origins, was uncovered among the war rubble of the Square Mile. It dated back to 240 AD, and was one of the most important archaeological finds in London's history. Tens of thousands of people queued up to glimpse this long-forgotten temple.
To mark the anniversary, an oral history project is capturing Mithraic memories. Were you one of the thousands who visited the dig all those years ago? Perhaps your parents or grandparents went along for a peek at Londinium. If so, Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) would like to hear from you. Call them on 020 7410 2266, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The temple itself has led a troubled life since its rediscovery in 1954. It was initially boxed up and hidden away, before reconstruction 100 metres from its original location. Then, a few years ago, it was taken apart once again to make way for the vast new headquarters of Bloomberg, currently under construction. It is perhaps the only temple to be twice put into storage. The good news is that it shall return. The building's owners agreed to reinstall the temple on its original site, accompanied by a small visitor centre that will tell its complicated story. It will open in 2017. The queues are unlikely to reach the lengths seen in 1954, but for anyone who remembers the temple's previous sorry setting, this is welcome news indeed.