- Museum number
Silver skillet, with a highly decorated handle and some gilding. The bowl is deep, with slightly incurving walls forming a constriction in the line of the profile below the small everted rim. The upper surface of the rim is flat. The footring is of simple form, with a concave external profile. The area within the footring is plain, with no concentric grooves and ridges, though the central turning point is visible. The handle is of the usual form, and is elaborately decorated in very high relief; some floral elements are applied and soldered in position. The wide crescentic plate that contacts the bowl of the vessel terminates in the usual duck- or swan-heads. The general theme of the decoration is the traditional one of acanthus scrolls and flowers, with some elements picked out by gilding. The central area of the handle carries the inscription MATR.FAB / DUBIT in bold, neat lettering. The outlines of the letters are filled with a roughened surface to provide a key for the heavy gilding, perhaps more accurately termed 'gold inlay', which survives on the V, B and T of 'DUBIT'. A trace also remains on the A of 'MATR'. The gold foil inlays were finished with chased lines following their edges.
The interior of the bowl retains most of its original highly polished surface, but there is one dent and also an area where there are breaks and minor losses of metal. In this damaged area, there is a modern (19thC) soldered join and three small silver rivets, which have been rubbed down flush on the outer surface: evidently there was a patch at this point which has been lost or removed. The entire exterior of the vessel shows signs of pitting and corrosion, and of very unsympathetic cleaning that has left a badly scratched surface.
- Production date
Diameter: 70 millimetres (footring)
Diameter: 123 millimetres
Height: 85.70 millimetres
Length: 232 millimetres (inc handle)
Weight: 493.70 grammes
- Curator's comments
- The history of this hoard is obscure. We know that it was found around 1811, but not where it was found. The hoard was said to have included about 280 coins, but all but one of these, and probably other objects, were dispersed before The British Museum was able to acquire what was left of the treasure in 1850. The surviving coin is a denarius of Antoninus Pius (reigned AD 138-161) issued in AD 139.
The silver pan was probably the container for most of the objects.
The treasure was probably a votive deposit at a shrine of the Mother-goddesses near the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall.
- On display (G49/dc11)
- Exhibition history
2013 23 May - 15 Sep, Wallsend, Segedunum Roman Fort, Spotlight: The Backworth Hoard
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Found in 1811 or 1812, exact findspot unknown.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number