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Hoard of silver drinking cups


Height: 8.200 cm (cup with vine and olive decoration)

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P&EE 1962 7-7 1-9

Room 49: Roman Britain

    Hoard of silver drinking cups

    Roman Britain, late 1st century AD
    Found in Hockwold cum Wilton, Norfolk (1962)

    These silver wine-cups may have formed part of the wealth of a Romano-British shrine. They had been deliberately dismantled and crushed before burial, reducing them to silver bullion. Because of their fragmentary condition, it was difficult for archaeologists to interpret the hoard. At first the cups were widely believed to date to the first century BC, and the number of vessels was thought to be five. It was only after careful re-shaping that the objects could be properly studied and understood. The original condition is an essential part of their history and has been carefully recorded both in photographs and in replicas made of one cup before restoration.

    The vessels were designed as high-quality tableware. One cup, without handles, has relief decoration of vines and olives. There is also a separate pedestal which exactly matches that of this cup. Two matching kantharoi have engraved Bacchic motifs, and there is a single undecorated handled cup, and two pairs of handles from additional vessels. Wine-cups were generally made in matching pairs, so many elements are missing.

    T.W. Potter, Roman Britain, 2nd edition (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

    C. Johns, 'The Roman silver cups from Hockwold, Norfolk', Archaeologia-9, 108 (1986), pp. 2-13


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