Roman dodecahedrons are one of history’s greatest enigmas. These small objects, cast in copper alloy, have puzzled archeologists for centuries, but their true purpose remains unknown.
A group of amateur archeologists, Norton Disney History & Archaeology Group, recently discovered a well-preserved Roman dodecahedron in Lincolnshire, England, sparking interest in these mysterious objects once again. The group was making excavations on a site that featured Roman coins and broaches when they were met with an unexpected find.
“It was our second-to-last day of the excavation and up pops this dodecahedron in Trench Four,” Richard Parker, the secretary of the group, told Live Science. “We were completely surprised by it. We weren’t getting many metal [signals] at that point, but all of a sudden, there it was.”
More than 100 similar Roman dodecahedrons have been found across North Europe in the past. They can vary in side, but all of them have 12 flat sides with holes in them and small balls on the corners.
There has been no mention of Roman dodecahedrons in historical records. Various theories have been presented in the past, with some archeologists believing they are some sort of measuring tool while others suspect they could be religious artifacts or used in “magic” rituals.
The Roman dodecahedron found by Norton Disney History & Archaeology Group is in remarkably good shape, considering most of previous discoveries were either fragmented or had significant damage. It is currently on display at a local museum.