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Lydney : Introduction
The cella and ambulatory of the temple at Lydney, revealed by Sir Mortimer Wheeler's excavations. (Wheeler plate IXb)

This temple (SO 615026) is situated in the parkland of the Lydney estate, just west of the village of Lydney on the western side of the Severn valley in Gloucestershire. The Roman site, locally nicknamed the 'Dwarf's Chapel', was first excavated in 1805. The early excavations exposed the buildings and uncovered many votive artefacts, including the curse tablet and a famous votive figurine of a dog, but no records have survived of the context from which these items derive. The site was further excavated by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in the 1920s and by John Casey in 1980 and 1981.

The temple is both large and of an unusual type for Roman Britain. It sits within a complex of other buildings, some of which may be related to the rituals carried out at the site, including 'incubation', a sleep in which the supplicant might receive a visit by the deity of the shrine. The curse tablet, other inscriptions and votive offerings allow us to investigate some of the details of religious practice at the sanctuary, presided over by Mars Nodens, a deity of Roman and Celtic parentage.

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