Large spoons (cigni) from the Thetford treasure

British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

These sixteen cigni, spoons with short bird-head handles, formed part of a remarkable hoard of late-Roman gold jewellery and silver tableware found near Thetford, Norfolk, in 1979. In total, the thirty-three spoons ranked as an exceptionally large group until eclipsed by the Hoxne treasure. A few have personal names and generic good-luck phrases, while the majority are engraved with dedications to the obscure Italian god Faunus, combined with different Celtic epithets. There are Bacchic elements in the decoration of both spoons and jewellery, and Faunus may at this date have formed part of the wider Bacchic cult. It appears that the treasure was originally owned and used by committed pagans and may have been hidden as a result of anti-pagan legislation in the final decade of the fourth century AD.

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  • Title: Large spoons (cigni) from the Thetford treasure
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 102.00mm; Width: 46.00mm; Weight: 25.40g
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: engraved; gilded
  • Subject: hippocampus; bird
  • Registration number: 1981,0201.50
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Gallows Hill
  • Period/culture: Romano-British
  • Material: silver; gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Treasure Trove HM Treasury