A Rare Roman pewter hoard found in Suffolk 2023

A Rare Roman pewter hoard found

A rare Roman pewter hoard found in Euston, western Suffolk. The hoard consists of a neat stack of plates and platters with smaller bowls and a cup placed atop and aside the nested platters. The metal is not dateable, but Roman pewter hoards in Britain usually date to the 4th century.

A Rare Roman pewter hoard found

Faye Minter, Suffolk County Council’s Archaeological Archives and Projects Manager, said:

“This is a significant discovery. The larger plates and platters were used to allow food to be served communally and the octagonal bowls may have a Christian reference. Similar hoards are found across southern Britain, including from the nearby large Roman settlements at Icklingham and Hockwold.”


Euston hoard lifted. Photo courtesy Suffolk County Council.
Euston hoard emerges. Photo courtesy Suffolk County Council.

A Rare Roman pewter hoard found by metal detectorist Martin White during a detecting rally on September 3rd, 2022. They alerted Suffolk County Council archaeologists who determined it was an assemblage in fragile condition that needed to be raised in a single group for separation and conservation in laboratory conditions. That was accomplished on September 20th.


The group was excavated in the Norfolk Museum Services laboratory. There is evidence of heavy plough damage to the vessels, and advanced corrosion has fused several of them together.
The main stack contained five plates and platters nested on top of each other. Corrosion materials make it impossible for the stack to be separated into its individual dishes. The top piece of the stack is fragmented and was partially lifted during the discovery process and so was conserved separately. It has a perforated decoration on the center — lines of punchmarks inside two concentric circles. –

A Rare Roman pewter hoard found in Suffolk & Following itmes Found

A Rare Roman pewter hoard found. Next to the plate stack was a group of three, one bowl on top of two small dishes, one of them decorated with a relief on the inside of the flat rim. A single inverted bowl was found on one side of the main plate stack. Two bowls with octagonal rims, also corroded together, were placed next to the plate stack, as was a single conical cup. The octagonal form may be a Christian reference

Conserved hoard at museum

Because A Rare Roman pewter hoard found is not a precious metal, this treasure of inestimable archaeological value does not qualify as official treasure (the wheels are Parliament are grinding excruciatingly slowly at closing this loophole_ and therefore belongs to the property owner. It was found on the Euston Estate, making the Duke of Grafton the owner of the hoard. He has donated it to the West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village and Museum, near Bury St Edmunds. The conserved hoard is now on display there through January 2024.


A Rare Roman pewter hoard found consists of a neat stack of plates and platters with smaller bowls and a cup placed atop and aside the nested platters. The metal is not dateable, but Roman pewter hoards in Britain usually date to the 4th century.

A Rare Roman Pewter Hoard found from our Archaeology Correspondent TWENTY-THREE pieces of Romano-British pewter ware-the third largest hoard of Roman pewter yet to be found in Britain-together with various iron implements, some potsherds and a few pieces of leather and wood, were discovered during last summer at Appleford in Berkshire. This is one of the outstanding Roman finds of recent years and the entire hoard, except for one plate which is still in the hands of its finder, is now on show at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where it is being worked on by Mr. D. Brown, assistant keeper of antiquities.

It is chiefly because of his work, A Rare Roman pewter hoard found the efforts of the Abingdon Archaeological Society and the farsightedness of the owners-the Arney Group Co.-that the hoard has been kept intact. Apparently workers at the Arney Company’s gravel pit at Appleford dug out last March a load of black peaty soil which they promptly discarded. During the summer, three collectors walking over the gravel workings came across five pewter utensils, four of which were taken to Mr. Brown for identification.

A Rare Roman pewter hoard found, Realizing there could be more to be found at the site, Mr. Brown suggested a thorough search to the Abingdon
Society, which then found the rest of the hoardeighteen more pewter pieces, some iron implements and other artefacts in a single conglomerate. The Arney Company, which owns the hoard, cooperated throughout the search and has now lent the objects to the Ashmolean Museum.

All the pewter-twelve large plates, a flagon and ten small plates and bowls-is remarkably well preserved, probably because the hoard was originally dropped in a well, all traces of which have disappeared, and has lain below the water-table ever since. There are, of course, numerous parallels for burial of pewter and other valuables in wells during Roman times, especially in the late fourth and early fifth centuries when Romano-British civilization was on its last legs.

Pewter was in all probability a Romano-British invention. Only two pieces have ever been found on the continent and they were probably imported from Britain. And even in Britain, pewter was only in widespread use in the south. All the finds so far have come from roughly south of Fosse Way, south of a line from Hull, through Lincoln and Leicester, to Cardiff.

On the other hand, the steady accumulation of finds in southern Britain suggests that pewter tableware was not at all uncommon in prosperous household’!.
Roman pewter is, unfortunately, extremely difficult to date, essentially because its value and durability mean that it almost never turns up on archaeological sites-in rubbish pits and the like-which might provide a datable context. The Appleford hoard is probably the collection of a single household accumulated piecemeal and almost certainly at second-hand. The plain design and lack of decoration-only one plate (Fig. l) bears any decoration-imply that the pieces could have been made at any time between the second and fourth centuries.

At least one plate bears two inscriptions which are unlikely to be contemporary. One is the woman’s name “Pacata” and the other reads “Verianus dedicated his purchases to Jupiter”. If Verianus was a pagan, as this suggests, he probably lived before Constantine, who died in 337. Beyond 127 Fig. I. Decorated pewter plate in the Appleford hoard. that, there is no real evidence of when the hoard was hidden.

The most likely possibility is that it was dropped in the well at the end of the fourth or the early fifth century, but there are no surface traces of any stone Roman building in the near vicinity of the gravel pit. This is surprising, for if the hider lived near the putative well and was sufficiently affluent to own the pewter, it seems unlikely that he would have lived in an entirely timber villa without even a stone bath.
Unfortunately, the ironwork, which includes a fine cauldron chain (Fig. 2) virtually identical to that found at Great Chesterford in Essex, is no more easily dated than the pewter.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *