roman temple on view beneath foster + partners' bloomberg HQ in london
 

roman temple on view beneath foster + partners' bloomberg HQ in london

the temple of mithras, a roman ruin found at the heart of london, lies in the foundation of bloomberg’s london headquarters. the foster + partners’ design for the office complex incorporated bloomberg’s mission to support the arts. now, the remains of a 240 AD temple, a piece of one of history’s most artistically advanced societies, sits below the office areas, open for public viewing. the ‘bloomberg SPACE’ includes both the historical temple remains, additional displays and projections, and a area for contemporary art commissions — allowing the exhibition to display a range of art that spans the last 1,800 years.

bloomberg mithras
the roman temple to mithras was first discovered in 1954 after a bomb hit the area
all images by james newton | courtesy of bloomberg SPACE

 

 

the temple was first excavated in 1954 by a team of archaeologists after a bombing. after its discovery, the remains immediately became a public sensation — attracting international news reporters and up to 30,000 visitors a day over a two week period. it was then dismantled and reconstructed 100 meters from its original position. the bloomberg team restored and relocated the temple as close to its original location as possible. shielded from extreme weather conditions, the temple now sits seven meters below ground in an educational space where additional artifacts, history, and information are displayed.

bloomberg mithras
after its initial discovery the temple was moved 100 meters away from its original location

 

 

the bloomberg reconstruction would sit at ‘roman ground level,’ which was about seven meters below the existing. any additional materials, such as mortar and stone were created through a careful process of sampling and testing to create a product that was as close to the original as possible. during the excavation process, the bloomberg team found precious items scattered throughout the site. these items are now on display and include: one of the first known financial documents in britain etched on a wooden tablet, a tiny amber amulet in the shape of a gladiator’s helmet, and a large group of pewter vessels thought to be used for temple rituals. 

bloomberg mithras
the bloomberg team moved the temple as close to its original location as possible and re-excavated the area

bloomberg mithras
during the digging process, many additional precious artifacts were found

bloomberg mithras
some of the artifacts have given the archaeologists insights into roman religious practices

bloomberg mithras
any additional materials added to the remains were modeled off of roman materials and practices

bloomberg mithras
the temple installation sits 7 meters below ground, london’s ground level 1,800 years ago

bloomberg mithras
the temple is believed to have been built around 240 AD

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