NMS-7BEED8: Roman gold plaque

Rights Holder: The British Museum
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AMULET

Unique ID: NMS-7BEED8

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A Roman gold amulet or talisman, comprising a rectangular plaque (lamella) of thin gold sheet, lightly incised with a text in a mixture of Greek and Latin characters and magical symbols. There appear to be nine lines of text across the short axis of the plaque and two additional marginal lines on the right side of the long axis. Creasing of the soft metal of the plaque (there are seven 'fold' lines) shows that it was originally rolled into a tube, with the text on the inner face. It was unrolled by the finder.

Such amulets, inscribed with secret formulae, were worn as a protection against evil. Their texts resemble those of Roman magical papyri and, as on those, the precise form and arrangement of the words and characters was critical in investing the object with its protective magical powers.

Very few inscribed gold amulets are known from Britain. They include examples from Caernarvon, York and Wood Eaton, Oxfordshire (RIB I, 436 and 706. II, 2430.2). Henig regards the gold lamellae, together with other magical amulets, as possible evidence for the presence in Roman Britain of a small Eastern immigrant community (M. Henig Religion in Roman Britain London, 1984, 184 ff.).

Surface metal analysis conducted at the British Museum indicated that the gold content is approximately 91%.

Notes:

This object qualifies as Treasure in terms of age and precious metal content.

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Norwich Castle Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2003T93

Chronology

Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 43
Date to: Circa AD 200

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 41.5 mm
Width: 30 mm
Weight: 1.93 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 13th April 2003

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Katie Hinds
Identified by: Dr Adrian Marsden
Secondary identifier: Ralph Jackson

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2003T93
Museum accession number: 2005.297

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Norfolk (County)
District: Breckland (District)
To be known as: NORFOLK BILLINGFORD

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Other chance find
Current location: Norwich Castle Museum

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMS
Created: 15 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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