Gold rings from the Thetford treasure

British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

These twenty-two finger-rings form part of a remarkable hoard of late-Roman gold jewellery and silver tableware found near Thetford, Norfolk, in 1979. The jewellery, most of which is in pristine, unused condition, clearly shows the late-Antique taste for elaboration and bright colour which had been evolving since the third century AD. The stylistic links between individual items suggest that most were the products of a single workshop, quite possibly in Britain. Some of the rings are of familiar late-Roman types, but others are of exceptionally original and flamboyant design. They are set with garnets, emeralds, amethysts, various forms of semi-precious hardstone and glass; many small settings were evidently loose and were not recovered when the hoard was found. The engraved gems are of earlier date than the goldwork, and had been re-mounted from older pieces of jewellery. The rings with shoulders in the form of dolphins and birds are particularly interesting.


  • Title: Gold rings from the Thetford treasure
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 20.00mm (interior); Weight: 155.00g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: engraved
  • Subject: classical deity; mammal
  • Registration number: 1981,0201.2
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Gallows Hill
  • Period/culture: Romano-British
  • Material: gold; amethyst
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Treasure Trove HM Treasury

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