Gold body-chain from the Hoxne hoard


British Museum

British Museum

The Hoxne (pronounced 'Hoxon') hoard consists of over 15,000 gold and silver coins, gold jewellery. There are also numerous small items of silver tableware, including pepper pots, ladles and spoons. Also found were traces of a large wooden chest and smaller caskets with tiny silver padlocks, into which the treasure had been carefully secreted. It was discovered in November 1992 by Eric Lawes, who immediately reported the find and did not remove all the objects from the ground. This responsible conduct enabled the Suffolk Archaeological Unit to carry out a controlled excavation of the deposit, which greatly enhanced our understanding of the find.
The silver objects are all quite small, the majority being around 100 spoons and ladles. This extensive collection of silverware would almost certainly have also included larger table vessels but we do not know what happened to them. A silver handle in the form of a tigress, apparently deliberately detached from a tall vase, indicates the existence of at least one such larger vessel for the table. The unusual selection of jewellery comprises a body-chain, a small group of necklaces, three finger-rings and 19 bracelets.
The latest of the coin issues in the hoard establishes that its burial took place sometime after 407/8 AD. This was the period when Roman rule was breaking down in Britain, and the Hoxne hoard might be related to these events. The careful burial of this treasure probably means that the owner intended to come back and recover it later, but for whatever reason was unable to do so.

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  • Title: Gold body-chain from the Hoxne hoard
  • Date Created: 367/375
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 840.00mm (extended); Length: 370.00mm (minimum); Length: 380.00mm (maximum); Length: 19.00mm (lion-head terminals; approx); Width: 35.00mm (coin mount); Weight: 249.50g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: pierced; cabochon cut
  • Subject: emperor/empress; mammal
  • Registration number: 1994,0408.1
  • Production place: Minted in Trier
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Hoxne
  • Period/culture: Romano-British; Roman
  • Material: gold; amethyst; garnet; sulphur
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Authority: Ruler Gratian
  • Acquisition: Treasure Trove HM Treasury. With contribution from Art Fund. With contribution from National Heritage Memorial Fund. With contribution from British Museum Friends


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