Silver flanged bowl; beaded rim; flange ornamented with figures of beasts including griffins, interspersed with human masks all in relief; central medallion of hunter and bear.
- Found/Acquired: West Row
- (Europe,United Kingdom,England,Suffolk,Mildenhall,West Row)
- Diameter: 295.5 millimetres
- Height: 95.5 millimetres
- Weight: 1718 grammes
Inscription Positionunder flange
Inscription TransliterationP and an illegible note of weight
Inscription Commenta weight, pounced.
Inscription Positionunder flange
Inscription ContentPON XX REDIT LIB VNA VNCIAS V SIMIS
Inscription Transliterationpon(dus) (libras?) XX redit lib(ra) una uncias V SIMIS (for semis ?)
Inscription TranslationWeight twenty (librae ?). Return (?) one libra five unciae and a half (?)
Bowls of this shape were popular in late-Roman table services. The decoration on the flat rims shows a variety of animals in hunting and pastoral scenes, themes which fall into the general category of Bacchic imagery. The inclusion of griffins, a mythical species, alongside real animals, is a common feature.
K.S. Painter, The Mildenhall Treasure (London, 1977)
2005-2006 25 Jul-13 Jan, Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
2005 12 Feb-26 Jun, Newcastle, Hancock Museum, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
2004-2005 1 Oct-15 Jan, Manchester Museum, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
2004 30 Apr-21 Sep, Cardiff, National Museums & Galleries of Wales, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
2003-2004 21 Nov-14 Mar, London, BM, Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past
29 October 1984
Reason for analysis
Tarnishing Of Silver In The Mildenhall Showcase
Most of the silver displayed in this showcase has tarnishedsince the opening of the Roman Britain Gallery. An examinationof the showcase revealed that all the Mildenhall pieceswere tarnished, the most badly tarnished piece being theflange bowl - 1946,10-7.5. The areas of the objects incontact with the lining cloth were either less tarnished oruntarnished. The Corbridge Lanx which is also displayed inthe Mildenhall case has not tarnished. The following possiblesources of the tarnishing were investigated.1 Component parts of the showcaseBefore the exhibition was set up the boards, adhesives andlining fabric to be used in the showcases were tested for theireffect on all metals. All the material which should have beenused in the construction of the base and backboards were passedas suitable for use with silver. Two samples of fibres fromthe purple lining fabric were retested for their effect onsilver. In this test the fabric had a very slight effect onsilver. This would not have been sufficient to cause thetarnishing observed on the silver objects. A sample of theadhesive used between the glass at the corner of the case wastaken and tested for its effect on silver. The adhesive had noeffect on silver.2 Trace metal content of the silverThe results of the analysis of the Mildenhall silver andof the corbridge lanx (1) were compared to see if the differencein tarnishing could be attributed to trace metal content. Theresults were in conclusive, the main difference being that allthe Mildenhall pieces have a higher lead content, 1.56-0.3%,than the Corbridge Lanx, 0.110-0.280%. There is some evidencethat debased silver will tarnish more readily than pure silver.However, the ring on the Corbridge Lanx with a silver contentof 93.4% was untarnished, whereas most of the Mildenhall pieceswith silver contents varying from 94.5-97.8% were tarnished.This investigation did not show any reason why the Mildenhallsilver had tarnished so badly in such a short time. However,the discovery that one of the door seals is missing and hasquite likely never been in place probably provides the answer.There was a wide gap between the glass and the doorallowing direct access of dust and air from the gallery.It is quite possible that the gallery air contains enoughhydrogen sulphide to cause the observed tarnishing. TheCorbridge Lanx being at the opposite end of the case wouldbe protected because any hydrogen sulphide would react atthe surface of the silver it first came into contact withand it could also be absorbed onto the lining fabric.If the absence of the seal was the cause of the tarnishing,then replacing the seal should prevent rapid tarnishing ofthe silver when it has been repolished.
Analysis reference number
Found while ploughing, 1942
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
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Object reference number: BCB12877
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