Conserving the Water Newton treasure

Many chance finds in archaeology have been discovered as a result of ploughing. Unfortunately this often meant that the object found was damaged by the plough. This silver cup, though discovered in just such a way, escaped damage because of its position among the other silver vessels in the group: it was lying in the largest dish, covered by an upturned bowl.

The cup had survived in excellent condition. Its fifteen hundred years in the earth had resulted only in a light covering of silver chloride corrosion and the detachment of its handles. These were originally soldered on but the solder had deteriorated and the handles had become separated. The solder marks on the cup were still quite visible, though, and after the cup had been cleaned the handles were reattached with adhesive in their correct positions.

Three other vessels in the group, all bowls, were lying upturned over the rest of the hoard and these took the brunt of the blow from the plough. They were severely dented and torn, and large areas were missing. After thorough examination and analysis, these three bowls were annealed, reshaped and cleaned. The missing areas were filled with polyester resin and fibreglass to provide support.

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