Transverse strainer-spoon, one of a matching pair (1994,0408.62-63) with engraved and gilded decoration and a pattern of pierced perforations. The narrower end of the oval bowl faces left, and the zoomorphic handle, in the form of a dolphin, is attached to the middle of its lower long side. The dolphin handle has a complete coil in the centre of the body, a small crest on the head, and a triple-lobed tail in a vertical plane. The eyes are set with small dark blue glass beads, and there is gilding on the tail, the central coil and the head. The bowl decoration consists of a male portrait in the centre, flanked by two dolphins. Around the bowl is a gilded border with a row of beading. The figure depicts a deity, possibly Oceanus, with a straight, thin beard and a garment with a decorated, embroidered neckline. His head is covered with a regular imbricated pattern. The dolphins that approach him from each side have a coil in the middle of their bodies like the handle dolphins. The pierced pattern forms spirals around and between the figure and the dolphins.
- Excavated/Findspot: Hoxne (Hoxne hoard)
- (Europe,British Isles,England,Suffolk,Hoxne (parish))
- Length: 128 millimetres (max.dimension; bowl width plus handle length)
- Length: 85 millimetres (bowl)
- Length: 73 millimetres (handle)
- Weight: 47.7 grammes
Transverse strainer-spoons from the Hoxne hoard
Roman Britain, buried in the 5th century AD
Found at Hoxne, Suffolk (1992)
The Hoxne (pronounced 'Hoxon') hoard is the richest find of treasure from Roman Britain. Alongside the approximately 15,000 coins were many other precious objects, buried for safety at a time when Britain was passing out of Roman control.
These two spoons are of unknown use, but they clearly match the large set of gilded spoons from the hoard. They may have been used for lifting solid pieces of food out of a liquid, such as whole fruit served in a bowl of water.
The gilded decoration shows Oceanus or a similar marine deity with dolphins: the theme is a Bacchic one, matching the decoration of the other spoons in the set.
1994-1995 Oct-Jan, Ipswich Museum, The Hoxne Treasure
Prehistory and Europe
- T304 (Treasure number)
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Object reference number: BCB90862
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