Ribchester hoard

Roman Britain, late 1st or early 2nd century AD
From Ribchester, Lancashire

This hoard of military metalwork and other items was found in 1796 by a clogmaker's son playing behind his father's house in the village of Ribchester. Ribchester was the site of a Roman fort and the hoard seems to have been placed in storage in a wooden box, probably beneath a barrack block floor, in about AD 120. Until then the fort had been garrisoned by a cavalry regiment, the Ala II Asturum, and the hoard, possibly the belongings of a single soldier, consists mainly of cavalry equimpent.

Most striking is the two-piece vizor helmet, which was worn in cavalry sports events (hippika gymnasia), colourful displays in which both horse and rider were dressed in elaborate clothing and metal fittings.

The perforated bronze domes to the left of the helmet are a pair of horse eye-guards, and below them is a set of highly-decorated horse brass, including (to the right of the helmet) a mount with a bust of Minerva, goddess of war and wisdom. The broken discs in the centre foreground are the remains of military awards, while on the right are three bronze pans and a pottery mixing bowl (mortarium). The other objects include parts of two saddle plates and a boar's tusk amulet (good luck charm).

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Museum number

P&EE 1814.7-5.1-35



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