Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Silver handle of spoon in form of dolphin, or two dolphins overlapping. The attachment for the spoon is crescentic and narrows at each end, both of which are in the form of a stylised bird's head. The handle itself is in the form of a dolphin with a tripartite fin on top; the head has heavily indented eye sockets. The lower half of the dolphin runs into another 'head' with a deep eye socket on each side, topped with a single fin, perhaps intended to represent a second dolphin. The handle ends in a tripartite moulding to represent the tail. Belongs with bowl 1946,1007.18.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 4thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 99.7 millimetres
    • Weight: 35.68 grammes
    • Width: 47.9 millimetres (handle attachment)
    • Width: 21.2 millimetres (tail)
  • Curator's comments

    Silver ladles from the Mildenhall treasure

    Roman Britain, 4th century AD
    Found in Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Deep, round-bowled spoons or ladles like this have been found in many late-Roman silver hoards. The decorative dolphin handles of these examples are gilded and originally had inlays, probably of glass, in their eyes. They resemble some of the dolphins depicted in the Hoxne treasure.

    The solder which originally attached the handles to the bowls has decayed during the time spent buried in the ground; it is now difficult to tell which handle belongs to which bowl.


  • Bibliography

    • Painter 1977a bibliographic details
    • Hobbs 2008 bibliographic details
    • Hobbs 2016 cat. 16 (see also 1946,1007.18) bibliographic details
    • Hobbs & Jackson 2010 p. 150, fig. 121 bibliographic details
    • Roman Britain 1964 p. 40 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G49/dc22

  • Exhibition history

    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

  • Condition

    One broken.

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Found while ploughing, 1942

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: Silver ladles from the Mildenhall treasure


COMPASS Title: Silver ladles from the Mildenhall treasure

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: BCB12897

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help