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Tours > Roman Britain at the BM > The Mildenhall Treasure

The Mildenhall Treasure
Mildenhall, Suffolk

The Great Dish The most incredible find ever discovered, from the time of Imperial Rome's administration of Britain, can only be the Great Dish of the Mildenhall Treasure. This mid-fourth century silver-platter measures almost 2ft in diameter and weighs some 18lbs. It is one of the finest examples of the Roman whitesmith's craft surviving anywhere in the World. The decoration shows a central head of the sea-god, Oceanus, surrounded by nereids and fantastic sea creatures. The large outer band features Bacchic revellers. It was discovered in the 1940s, along with over thirty other items tableware, mostly with similarly elaborate decoration. There are smaller silver platters featured pan and maenads, a covered bowl a frieze of centaurs and wild animals, and numerous other bowls, ladles and spoons. They appear to be of Continental or North African origin. Most of the treasure is overtly pagan in nature and the Bacchic items probably had specific religious significance; though there are a number of christianized items including christening spoons bearing the chi-rho monogram. One of the plates bears the inscription, 'Of Eutherius' and it has been suggested that this refers to the high official of that name known to have served the pagan restorer, Julian the Apostate (AD 360-363). The service could have been his gift to a Christian general serving in Britain named Lupicinus.

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