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Rethinking the date and interpretation of the Thetford treasure: a fifth century hoard of gold jewelry and silver spoons

Swift, Ellen Victoria (2024) Rethinking the date and interpretation of the Thetford treasure: a fifth century hoard of gold jewelry and silver spoons. Journal of Roman Archaeology, . ISSN 1047-7594. (In press) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:105718)

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This re-evaluation of the Thetford hoard proposes a new date for its burial in the 5th c. CE (c.420s–40s), significantly later than the established date of the 380s–90s. The date is based on comparative material from context-dated grave and hoard finds from across the western Roman empire. At least 17 hoard artefacts are argued to have been made within the 5th c. The Thetford treasure is a key point of reference in dating artefacts, and therefore a new date, if accepted, will prompt further re-evaluation of material, and significantly change understanding of this key transition period.

The interpretation of the hoard is also revisited. The wide cultural connections that can be demonstrated in the jewelry reflect its assembly in a period of migration and displacement, and there is evidence that its economic value may have become paramount in the latest phase of the assemblage’s use. Moreover, the revised date sets a new context for the hoard burial, after economic collapse and political breakdown in Britain. The article advocates for the potential role of wealthy religious sites like Thetford in filling the vacuum left by the collapse of Roman state authority in Britain.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Roman jewellery, Roman silver, post-Roman Britain, late Roman religion, end of Roman Britain, Roman finger-rings, Roman spoons
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DE The Greco-Roman World
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Department of Classical and Archaeological Studies
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Ellen Swift
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2024 10:44 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2024 11:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Swift, Ellen Victoria.

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