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Gold rings from the Thetford treasure

 

Treasure Trove

P&EE 1981 2-1 2-23

Prehistory and Europe

    Gold rings from the Thetford treasure

    Roman Britain, 4th century AD
    Thetford, Norfolk

    These twenty-two finger-rings form part of a remarkable hoard of late-Roman gold jewellery and silver tableware found near Thetford, Norfolk, in 1979.

    The jewellery, most of which is in pristine, unused condition, clearly shows the late-Antique taste for elaboration and bright colour which had been evolving since the third century AD. The stylistic links between individual items suggest that most were the products of a single workshop, quite possibly in Britain.

    Some of the rings are of familiar late-Roman types, but others are of exceptionally original and flamboyant design. They are set with garnets, emeralds, amethysts, various forms of semi-precious hardstone and glass; many small settings were evidently loose and were not recovered when the hoard was found. The engraved gems are of earlier date than the goldwork, and had been re-mounted from older pieces of jewellery. The rings with shoulders in the form of dolphins and birds are particularly interesting.

    C.M. Johns and T. Potter, The Thetford Treasure: Roman j (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)

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    Roman writings from the British frontier, £12.99

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