- Museum number
- Object: The Staffordshire Moorlands Pan
A copper-alloy pan (trulla), with polychrome enamel inlay, lacking its handle and base.
The circular bowl, though a little distorted in places, is complete, with a simple beaded rim and raised foot-ring. A narrow zone of differential corrosion and solder splash in an arc immediately beneath the rim discloses the former position of the handle and its width at the point of contact. The handle would probably have been flat, of bow-tie shape, with enamel inlay on the upper surface.
The convex wall of the pan is decorated with a band of Celtic-style curvilinear ornament – eight roundels, with eight pairs of intervening hollow-sided triangles. Each roundel encloses a swirling six-armed whirligig centred on a three-petalled device inlaid with red, blue, turquoise and yellow-coloured enamel.
Immediately above the band of roundels is an engraved inscription, inlaid with turquoise enamel, which runs around the pan in an unbroken and unpunctuated sequence of 56 letters.
- Production date
Diameter: 54 millimetres (base, external)
Diameter: 94 millimetres (maximum)
Height: 47 millimetres
Weight: 132.50 grammes
- Curator's comments
- Below the rim of the pan is an enamel-inlaid inscription which encircles the pan: MAIS (Bowness-on-Solway) COGGABATA (Drumburgh) VXELODVNVM (Stanwix) CAMMOGLANNA (Castlesteads) RIGORE VALI AELI DRACONIS. The four names are forts in the western sector of Hadrian's Wall.
The part of the inscription which reads RIGORE VALI AELI DRACONIS is very significant but more difficult to interpret. 'Rigore vali' seems to be a direct reference to Hadrian's Wall, for in Roman times it was known as 'the vallum'. 'Aeli' may also belong with that phrase, specifying 'the wall of Hadrian', for Aelius was Hadrian's family name. Alternatively, 'Aeli' could belong with the word 'Draco', forming the personal name Aelius Draco (or Dracon). He may have been a soldier or junior officer who had the pan made as a souvenir of his military service on the Wall.
The pan belongs to a series of colourful enamelled bronze trullae dating to the second and third centuries AD. It is particularly linked to two of these - the 'Rudge Cup', found at Rudge Coppice, Wiltshire in 1725, and the 'Amiens Patera', found at Amiens in 1949 - which have similar inscriptions. The Staffordshire pan, however, is the most spectacular example so far and is the first to mention the fort at Drumburgh.
R. Jackson, 'The Ilam Pan', Ch. 5 in D. Breeze (ed.) 'The First Souvenirs: Enamelled Vesseks from Hadrian's Wall', Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society Extra Series, No. 37, (2012), 41-60
M. Pitts and S. Worrell, 'Dish fit for the gods', British Archaeology (2003), 22-27
R.S.O. Tomlin, 'Inscriptions', Britannia (2004), 344-345
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2016 11 Mar-25 Sep, Edinburgh, National Museum of Scotland, 'Celts'
2015-2016 24 Sep-31 Jan, London, BM, G30, 'Celts: Art and Identity'
2015 Apr-Jul, Staffordshire, Museum of Cannock Chase
2013-2015 Apr-Apr, Carlisle, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery
2011-2013 Apr-Apr, London, The British Museum
2010-2011 27 Apr-1 May, Stoke-on-Trent, The Potteries Museum
2009-2010 23 Jun-27 Apr, Carlisle, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery
2008 24 Jul - 26 Aug, London, The British Museum, Hadrian: Empire and Conflict
2008 4 Jan 27 Apr, South Shields, Arbeia Roman Fort, Draco's Pan-The Story behind the Staffordshire Moorlands Pan
2006-8 20 Dec - 3 Jan, Carlisle, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery
2006 4 Jan 20 Dec, The Potteries Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, Permanent Gallery
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Joint acquisition between the British Museum, the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery (Stoke-on-Trent) and the Tullie House Museum and Gallery (Carlisle).
Purchased from the finder, Kevin Blackburn, and the landowners, George and Robert White.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: CALMG : 2006.1 (Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery registration number)
Miscellaneous number: STKMG : 2006.LH.1 (The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery registration number)