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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Silver spoon (cochlear) with pear-shaped bowl. The square-sectioned handle tapers to a pointed terminal. The offset is a comma-shaped opening with a stepped moulding between the handle and the bowl. The bowl has an engraved and chased inscription, probably originally filled with niello, which reads 'PASCENTIA VIVAS'.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 4thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 189 millimetres
    • Weight: 24.62 grammes
    • Length: 124 millimetres (handle only)
    • Length: 63.9 millimetres (bowl only)
    • Width: 31.3 millimetres (bowl)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        inside bowl
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Pascentia vivas
      • Inscription Translation

        'Pascentia, long life to you'
      • Inscription Comment

        All letters seriffed
  • Curator's comments

    Silver spoons from the Mildenhall treasure

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

    The eight spoons in the Mildenhall treasure represent examples from at least three, perhaps four, sets. It seems fair to assume that the owner of such an outstanding piece of silver plate as the Great Dish would have had a large number of spoons, most of which were not hidden in this particular cache.

    Three spoons have foliate decoration which matches that on the large fluted bowl. Another three bear the only overt Christian symbols in the hoard, the Greek letters chi and rho, the first letters of Christ's name, flanked by alpha and omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, another symbol of Christ - 'I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last' (Revelation 1:8)). The remaining two spoons have personal names (Papittedo and Pascentia) with the word vivas ('may you live'), a good-luck formula frequently used in late-Roman times, often by Christians.


  • Bibliography

    • Painter 1977a bibliographic details
    • Hobbs 2008 bibliographic details
    • Hobbs 2016 cat. 27 bibliographic details
    • R I B II.2, 2420.34, pp. 136 bibliographic details
    • Hobbs & Jackson 2010 p. 151, fig. 121 bibliographic details
    • Roman Britain 1964 p. 40, pl. 8.36 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
    1996 30 Mar-13 Nov, Italy, Rimini, Sala dell’Arengo, Dalla Terra Alle Genti

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Found while ploughing, 1942

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


Silver spoon; square-sectioned pointed handle, pear-shaped bowl with heel continued backwards and upwards to form attachment to handle, inscription inside bowl.

Silver spoon; square-sectioned pointed handle, pear-shaped bowl with heel continued backwards and upwards to form attachment to handle, inscription inside bowl.

Image description



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Object reference number: BCB12899

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