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Haul of ancient Roman artefacts found in London well stuns experts

6th December 2007
Daily Mail


Archaeologists have described the find as unprecedented



A haul of ancient Roman metal tableware has been found in a well in London.

The find has been described as "amazing" and "unprecedented" by archaeologists.

The collection of 19 vessels, found at the bottom of the 2.5 metre deep wood-lined well dating from AD380, includes wine buckets, a cauldron, a ladle and bowls.

They are mostly made of copper alloy with some made from lead alloy.

Historians think the 1,600-year-old tableware may have been put in the well for safe-keeping by some of the last Roman Londoners to leave the city, as they thought they would return.

Another theory is that the items were left there as part of a religious ritual to keep water spirits happy.

The find will be on display in the foyer of the Museum of London until 27 January 2008


Jenny Hall, curator of Roman London at the Museum of London where the collection will go on display, said: "These finds are amazing. I just couldn't stop grinning when I first saw them.

"Nothing like this has ever been found in London before, or anywhere else in Britain. You get the occasional single vessel, but the fact they were found together in a group is unparalleled.

"In size and scale they are simply unprecedented. In a well there were water spirits that you had to placate to keep happy.


The vessels were found during a nine-month dig by Pre-Construct Archaeology in London


"They wanted to keep the spirits sweet when you closed a well so you quite often made a ritual offering and this would have been a very generous offering."

It is rare to find metal artefacts in such good condition, but it is thought the water in the well prevented the items from corroding.


Historians think the 1,600-year-old tableware may have been put in the well for safe-keeping by some of the last Roman Londoners to leave the city


The vessels were found during a nine-month dig by Pre-Construct Archaeology at Drapers Gardens on the corner of Throgmorton Avenue and Copthall Avenue.

The find will be on display in the foyer of the Museum of London until 27 January when further work will take place on the objects.

The collection will then be on permanent display at the museum.


The artefacts are made of copper and lead alloy


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