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We can only guess what disasters kept them from recovering their goods.When spectacular finds are not reported straight away, people get suspicious and rumours start.A small Roman building with under floor heating once stood near the find-spot, but is that just a coincidence?Its high, domed cover, decorated with leaves and a frieze of wild animals and human heads, originally belonged to another bowl.A pair of goblets with shallow bowls, moulded stems, and leaf decoration under each broad base may have doubled as stemmed platters when turned upside down.
On a bitter January afternoon in 1943, during the dark days of World War II, ploughman Gordon Butcher unearthed a big metal dish at West Row. In the fading light Ford stuffed the finds into a sack and took them home. Ford had one of his workmen straighten them out, then he put them on the mantelpiece.He fetched his boss, Sydney Ford, an agricultural engineer who collected local antiquities. As snow began to fall, they dug out more dishes, bowls and spoons. After the war, a chance visitor realised that Ford’s ‘pewter’ was really Roman silver. The hoard was declared Treasure Trove on July 1st 1946 and became Crown property.Some experts have suggested the general Lupicinus, who was sent from Gaul by the pagan Emperor Julian in 360AD to quell barbarian attacks in Britain. Could the Great Dish have been a gift from the emperor himself?Our authentic replicas give an idea of the scope and splendour of this magnificent collection. At 60.5cm (almost 2ft) in diameter, it weighs 8.256kg (over 18 pounds).
Its finely executed reliefs show a band of dancing, drunken revellers including Hercules, Pan, and Bacchus, the god of wine. The face of a sea-god (Neptune or Oceanus) stares out from the centre.Of the six flanged bowls, four have reliefs figuring people and animals; the other two have richly decorated rims and bowls.The covered bowl has leafy designs on the flanged rim.HE MILDENHALL TREASURE comprises over thirty items of silver tableware dating from Roman Britain, including platters, spoons, goblets and bowls, most of it richly decorated.Because of its immense value, the Mildenhall Treasure is housed in the British Museum.