Flanged silver bowl and cover from the Mildenhall treasure


British Museum

British Museum

This hoard is one of the most important collections of late-Roman silver tableware from the Roman Empire. The objects were found while ploughing near Mildenhall in Suffolk, eastern England, in January 1942 or '43. They were declared Treasure Trove in 1946. Although no coins were found to give a reliable date, the tableware's style and decoration is typical of the fourth century AD. The artistic and technical quality of the silver objects is outstanding. Though we do not know who owned them, it was probably a person or family of considerable wealth and high social status.

The treasure consists of two large platters and two small plates, six bowls with flat rims, a covered bowl, a fluted dish for washing hands, a pair of small pedestalled plates and a small number of spoons with either deep or shallow bowls. All these objects were used during dinner parties for the serving of food to share or consume as individual portions, with the exception of the fluted dish used to wash hands. Many items are richly decorated with themes relating to the worship of Bacchus, the god of wine, or animal hunt scenes, both of which were very popular subjects in the late Roman period. Although this decoration is entirely classical in nature, there are also a small number of Christian inscriptions on some of the spoons. During the fourth century AD Christianity was becoming more popular and these inscriptions suggest that at least some of the treasure

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  • Title: Flanged silver bowl and cover from the Mildenhall treasure
  • Date Created: 300/399
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 230.00mm; Height: 191.00mm (with cover (12)); Weight: 1013.00g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: incised
  • Registration number: 1946,1007.11
  • Place: Found/Acquired West Row
  • Period/culture: Romano-British
  • Material: silver
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Treasure Trove HM Treasury. From Ford, S. From Butcher, George W