Roman Lead Shrine

Roman Lead Shrine

at Segedunum, Wallsend. Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums

Key Stage:

KS3 Religious Education A study of worship forms part of all the Agreed Syllabuses we have researched.


Show the pupils the still image of the lead shrine to Mercury, and tell them that very little is known about how the shrine would have been used in a home context. Ask the pupils how we could gain an insight into its use from studying living faiths. After a short discussion, set them the task of working in pairs to test the idea that we could look at the common features of home shrine use in living faiths.

Video 1. Buddhism. Question..Describe

Give them the links to the videos in which Buddhist and Christian practicioners are asked the same four questions about their use of home shrines. Ask them to list what they consider to be the most important differences and similarities between the interviewees’ responses.The total length of the four answers is seven minutes for the Buddhist and five minutes for the Christian, so the whole exercise should take the pupils twenty to thirty minutes. Finish with a group discussion of what they have learned.

Video 2. Question..How do you pay respect to the objects?

Video 3.Question..How do you use the objects?

Video 4, Question..How does the practice help you?

Video 5. Christianity. Question..Can you describe what we are looking at?

Video 6. Question..How do you pay respect?

Video 7. Question..How do you use the objects?

Video 8, Question..How does the practice help you?

Development Activity:

In units on Hinduism or Sikhism, this lesson could be used as a way in to studying how home worship functions in those faiths (some Sikhs may perform Parkash at home).

Contacting your local SACRE you may find a faith member willing to be interviewed or even filmed answering the above questions from their perspective.

Learning Objectives:

Pupils will learn about common features of personal worship by employing higher order learning skills. These resources can be used as stand-alones in the context of units on Christianity or Buddhism, but probably can best be deployed togther in an enquiry- style approach. The following suggestion is quite teacher-led, but could easily be adapted to a less prescriptive method.

Research, Notes and Links:

Download this lesson plan

Parkash - waking Sri Guru Granth Sahib filmed in a Gurdwara context is available at

The shrine was found in the quarters of a decurion, an officer in charge of 30 cavalry soldiers. At any one time there would only have been around 120 men of this rank in the entire empire. Excavations in a decurion's house in Hungary also seem to have identified a shrine to Mercury. and an image of Mercury appears in a a bas-relief made for a decurion found in Eisenburg, Germany. One of the cavalry's main roles was to act as messengers on the battlefield and Mercury was the messenger of the Gods.