Archaeologists from the University of Newcastle have investigated one of the most unusual late Roman treasures found in the British Isles. Although the Knorrsborough treasure was discovered in 1864, it has only recently been explored.
Newcastle University archeology student Jessica De Maso has carried out the first comprehensive study of the hoard as part of her Masters degree. The results were published in The Antiquaries Journal, Arkeonews writes.
More than 30 exhibits, mainly copper dishes, were donated to the Yorkshire Museum in England in 1864 by Thomas Gott, an ironmonger who was a member of the city council and lived in Knorrsborough. However, he did not want to say how exactly they got to him.
The study said the hoard was likely found in a marshy area about 3 kilometers north of Knorrsborough.
|One of the most unusual treasures of the late Roman period
As there were many wealthy Roman villas in the area, it is believed that the items in the collection may have belonged to the owners of one of them. It is not known why the objects were gathered together and hidden in the swamp, but there are examples from other parts of the Roman Empire where this was done for ritual or spiritual reasons, or simply to hide them.
The research team also found evidence that the find originally contained more valuable items, but many of them were remelted in Gott’s foundry. The extant collection is made mostly of bronze and includes a large fluted bowl (about 48 cm in diameter) with a unique stand, as well as a number of strainers, oval plates and other dishes.
Scholars argue that these objects were used to impress guests, as the bronze resembled gold when polished, indicating a certain level of wealth.
|A large fluted bowl. ALL PHOTOS: Yorkshire Museum
“Naresborough Treasure Warehouse – this is an exceptional collection of Roman copper alloys which has long been in the collection of the Yorkshire Museum. The excellent work carried out by the experts revealed for the first time the research potential of these objects and their history in more detailAdam Parker, Curator of Archeology at Yorkshire Museum, said.
Researchers also learned more about Thomas Gott. They suggest that Gott may have known Frederick Hartley, who also served on the Knorrsborough Improvement Commission and was a land manager.
In 1864, Sir Charles Slingsby commissioned works to improve drainage on a marshy part of his land, and it is likely during this activity that the treasure was discovered. Hartley gave the exhibits to Gott, who gave most of the collection to the Yorkshire Museum. After 13 years, Gott gave the second, last part of the collection to the museum.
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