Big discovery in the Vale of Pewsey: Ancient Roman treasure offers rare evidence of ancient plant life

Big discovery in the Vale of Pewsey: Ancient Roman treasure offers rare evidence of ancient plant life

The vessels were buried in a pit beneath about 350 millimetres of top-soil and, as one would expect, were in varying states of disrepair.

The find was quickly identified as Roman.  The discovery was reported to Richard Henry who is Wiltshire’s Finds Liaison Officer.  His role is to record archaeological finds made by members of the public – mostly metal detectorists, but also by people who are just walking in fields or digging in their back garden.

Most of the cauldron survives and a large copper-alloy vessel had been placed upside down into the cauldron – forming a sealed cavity.  What was inside?

Among the remains of the dried plants were heads of common knapweed and pieces of bracken.  They also found seeds of cowslips or primrose, milkwort, lesser hawkbit, sedges, clovers, vetches and sweet violet, fat hen, knot grass, black bindweed, buttercup and corn spurrey.  They may be what is left of some careful packing.

Remains of the flowers and bracken are now on display at the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes.  Organic matter never survives if buried unprotected in the Pewsey Vale’s greensand – so to find dried plants and pollen this old provided the scientists with many opportunities for research.

The find did not count as ‘treasure’ so remains the property of the finder and the landowner.  The detectorists donated the organic material to Wiltshire Museum – the scientific processes used to test it with would ultimately destroy it.

Richard Henry led the quest to discover more about the find. He brought in a team to excavate the site of the discovery, led by David Roberts of Historic England with the Assistant County Archaeologist, members of the Wiltshire Archaeology Field Group and the finders.  They found shards of domestic and imported ceramics and ceramic building materials.

The project to analyse the plant remains has been led by the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme and supported by Historic England, Southampton University, the Association for Roman Archaeology and Wiltshire Museum.

But if the age in years is a little speculative, the state of the plants reveals pretty accurately that they were picked and packed away in late summer soon after the harvest – late August to early October.

When their own kind of Brexit happened, the Romans obviously left much more behind them than roads, mosaics, villas and hoards of coins.

Wiltshire Museum’s Director, David Dawson, is thrilled they can display this important material: “Richard Henry has led this remarkable partnership project, drawing specialists from across the country to piece together the fascinating story of the burial of Roman bronze cauldrons that took place on a summer’s day 1,500 years ago.”

Richard Henry said “Such discoveries should be left in situ to allow full archaeological study of the find and its context. The finders did not clean or disturb the vessels which has allowed us to undertake detailed further research. If the vessels had been cleaned none of this research would have been possible.”

It is very tempting to imagine how this hoard came to be made so long after the vessels were first used. It is as though someone today decided to bury the Victorian kitchen pots Aunt Bertha inherited – and packed them with plants.

Why they were buried remains a matter for speculation. Does the careful packing of the metal vessels mean they were the antiques of their day? Were they, so long after the Roman era, still valued as useful cooking pots?  Or was this some kind of votive offering?

Marlborough.News understands that metal detector Dave aims to have the vessels professionally conserved.

Related Posts

“Unveiling a ріeсe of History: Young Boy Discovers іпсгedіЬɩe 30,000-Year-Old Mammoth сагсаѕѕ”

Many young Ƅoys haʋe an innate curiosity to explore their surroundings, hoping to stuмƄle upon soмething extraordinary. That’s precisely what happened to an 11-year-old Russian Ƅoy who,…

“Half-Fish, Half-Frog: Bizarre Creature Captured in Indonesia”

Indonesian fishermen have саᴜɡһt a ѕtгапɡe creature that has left the online community Ьewіɩdeгed. The creature, which appears to be half fish and half frog, has left…

“Stone-Cold Enigma: The Astonishing Transformation of a Mythical Giant Snake into Stone Baffles Scientists”

Scientists were left Ьewіɩdeгed when they discovered that the ɩeɡeпdагу giant snake had been mysteriously petrified Receпtly, archaeologists have discovered a vast “fossil” of aп aпcieпt sпake…

Reindeer Herders Stumble Upon 10,000-Year-Old Woolly Mammoth Skeleton With Ligaments Intact

Researchers have already retrieved part of the mammoth’s pelt and are hoping to find bits of preserved brain in its skull. Artem Cheremisov/Gov. of Yamalo-Nenets of Russia…

Sʜᴏᴄᴋɪɴɢ!!More thaп 9,000 years old giaпt boпes have beeп foυпd iп Greece

sʜᴏᴄᴋɪɴɢ!! ʜᴜɢᴇ ????-ʏᴇᴀʀ-ᴏʟᴅ sᴋᴇʟᴇᴛᴏɴ ғᴏᴜɴᴅ ɪɴ ɢʟɪsʜ. ɢɪᴀɴᴛ ʙᴏɴᴇs ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴀɴ ?,??? ʏᴇᴀʀs ᴏʟᴅ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ʙᴇᴇɴ ғᴏᴜɴᴅ ɪɴ ɢʀᴇᴇᴄᴇ. ʙᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɢɪᴀɴᴛs ᴏɴᴄᴇ ᴇxɪsᴛᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜᴜᴍᴀɴ sᴋᴇʟᴇᴛᴏɴ…

The Most Mysterioυs Αпd Rare Gold-cast Coffiп Iп The World, 10 Years Still No Oпe Dares To Opeп It

Dυriпg the past 10 years, experts had hoped to υпcover the mystery iпside the rare goldeп coffiп with the help of special techпiqυes. However, besides still пot…

Leave a Reply

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