|Was SW15 A 'Red Light Area' In Roman Times?
A roman coin found by Putney Bridge and was probably used by soldiers in brothels!
The coin made in bronze is smaller than a ten pence piece, and depicts a man and a woman engaged in an intimate act. It is thought that the holder would have taken the token to one of the many Londinium brothels and handed it to a sex slave in exchange for the act depicted on the coin.
Experts believe it is the first example of its kind to be found in Britain. It lay preserved in mud for almost 2,000 years until it was unearthed by mudlarker 37 year old pastry chef Regis Cursan using a metal detector.
On 3rd January he told the Daily Mail:
The token has been donated to the Museum of London, where it will be on display for the next three months. Curator Caroline McDonald said:
The object has been dated, by experts at the Museum of London, to the Roman period and approximately the 1 st century AD. There is much debate about the precise use of these Roman spintria although they are widely thought to be brothel tokens, which were exchanged for sex. Other suggested uses have been made, such as gaming tokens. If this item is indeed a brothel token, the reverse numeral may indicate the price of the service shown on the front of the token, if true this would have been the equivalent of one day’s pay for a labourer at that time!
Some historians believe the Romans invented prostitution in the modern sense. It played a significant part in the empire’s economy – with sex workers required to register with the local authorities and even pay tax.