A detectorist has recently donated a really interesting find to National Museums Liverpool. It was found in the Hale area of Cheshire which is just outside Liverpool. It’s locality makes it more important as north of the River Mersey finds are not abundant- especially finds as nice as this one. This find will hopefully go into the new Museum of Liverpool which is planned to open in 2010
The find is a face mount, from furniture or a vessel. It is Roman in date but has Celtic influences in it’s design. It is recorded on the database as LVPL-1DBDD5. It is a female face, representing Medusa, one of the Gorgons, and the only one who was mortal. Her gaze could turn whoever she looked upon to stone. There is a particular myth in which Medusa was originally a beautiful maiden. She desecrated Athena’s temple by lying there with Poseidon. Outraged, Athena turned Medusa’s hair into living snakes. Medusa is represented as a fierce female nearly always with a frontal rather than a profile head. She was often used as an apotropaic amulet.
As promised here are more details about the Quadrans which was recorded with me from Cheshire. I have been really lucky as this is my 2nd one of these in less than 18 months (there are less than 10 on the PAS database I think).
This one is a Quadrans of Antoninus Pius (138-161), minted in Rome, 140-144 AD. It seems to be an unpublished variety of quadrans which makes it an even more important find. As well as being a rare denomination of coin, it could be unique! And this is a coin which was in a bag with c.100 other Roman ‘grots’
The coin is recorded as LVPL-F139A5
Obverse- Laureate head right
Reverse- Two clasped hands, holding cauceus and two corn ears
This is a really nice case of where an archaeologist spotted a find on UKDFD and, realising it was an important find, asked the detectorist to show it to his local FLO so they could record it. They promptly did this and now we have another really interesting find recorded for all to see.
It is a copper alloy Roman tripod mount. 2 of these have previously been recorded on the PAS database (LIN-1632D1 and YORYM-EC06D2) but both of these are very different in style to the one brought into me at Manchester. They both depict Romanised gods (Bacchus and possibly Harpocrates respectively). The North Yorkshire one (recorded as LVPL-CB8B04) does not seem to be representative of anyone in particular and the design style used on it is much more reminiscent of Celtic art than the more fancy Roman design on the other 2.
This is not to say it is cruder- just that it is different. It is probably more interesting than the other two because of its design. It shows a Roman object (the tripod) was not only being used by British people but that they were making this object and altering it to fit into their art styles. These are not common finds in
Britain and this appears to be the first in this style to be found. There are other tripod mounts known from excavations both in Britain and from the continent (Belgium and Germany) but these all seem to be similar in style to the other two mounts recorded on the database.
This shows just how important it is that we all collaborate to record finds- without the metal detectorist we would not have been shown this find and now have the information. In turn the metal detectorist now knows much more about his object than before.