In the mid-19th century, a Roman hoard donated most of its material to the Yorkshire Museum in the United Kingdom by Thomas Gott. The ironmonger, who was also a Knorrsborough development commissioner, never said how the relics were discovered or who they belonged to – but new analysis by Newcastle University researchers has filled in several gaps in that story. The findings were published in the journal Antiquarian Journal And released on January 12.
Discovered in 1864, the so-called Knaresborough hoard is a collection of sherds made mainly of bronze. In addition to the bowls, strainers and oval plates, it includes two pieces never before seen in Britain: a bronze vase handle and a bowl rim resembling the relief of a shell. According to the group, these objects were used in a house to attract guests while serving food because, when polished, their bronze texture resembled gold.
Research suggests the treasure was discovered in a bog near Farnham in the Mowbray Valley, two miles north of the English town of Knaresborough. The valley was crossed by two main roads during the Roman period; Also, near them, there were houses of rich families. The treasure may have come from one of these houses.
The reason why the objects were hidden in a swamp is not clear, but some hypotheses point to spiritual reasons or a simple desire to hide these pieces or not recover them.
An X-ray fluorescence analysis confirmed the composition of the alloys and revealed signs of repair on many of the items, reinforcing the notion that they were made of valuable material.
“”This project shows the value of revisiting ancient finds,” said James Gerrard, professor of Roman archeology at Newcastle University. In a statement. “It's good to know that more than 150 years on, our research has helped tell a fascinating, but complex, part of the story of this remarkable discovery.”
Behind the discovery of relics
Thomas Wood's role in the discovery of the Knorrsborough treasure in the 19th century is also explored. Researchers say they knew ironmonger Frederick Hartley, who was a member of the Knorrsborough Development Committee and the agent and manager of properties near Farnham owned by Sir Charles Slingsby.
In 1864 Slingsby commissioned work to improve the drainage of the marshland on his land, and it is believed that the treasure was discovered around this time. Hartley kept part for himself or Slingsby, and the rest to God, who in 1964 bequeathed the bulk of the collection to Yorkshire Museum. In fact, Gad donated the second and final part of the collection. Yorkshire Museum after 13 years.
The team also found evidence that when the treasure was discovered, it contained more material than was in the collection at the British Museum. Researchers also believe that some of the pieces found in the 19th century may have been mistakenly melted in a God foundry.
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