Sunday, 30 August 2015

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First souvenirs collected by Romans visiting Hadrian's Wall

They are thought to have been the first souvenirs collected by Romans visiting Hadrian’s Wall.

Roman cup photo
The Rudge Cup

Now these three small enamel pans feature in a new book edited by Roman expert David Breeze and published by the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society.

The Rudge Cup, Amiens Patera and the Ilam Pan are about the size of a wine glass and decorated with the names of forts along the western sector of Hadrian’s Wall, from Bowness-on-Solway to Great Chesters. They were made in the decades following the building of Hadrian’s Wall in AD122.

Mr Breeze said: “Remarkably, it seems that Hadrian’s Wall was a tourist attraction soon after it was built. None of the pans were found on the Wall, but in southern England and France. As souvenirs they may have had no other function, though it has been suggested that they might have been used for wine drinking by veterans of the Roman army.”

A number of experts in Roman archaeology – Lindsay Allason-Jones, Paul Holder, Fraser Hunter, Ralph Jackson, Ernst Kunzl, Noel Maheo and Sally Worrell – have contributed to the book, The First Souvenirs: Enamelled Vessels from Hadrian’s Wall.

They describe and discuss each of the vessels and related enamelled objects – from flasks to brooches – and their place of manufacture and use. The Ilam Pan decoration includes the name Draco, possibly the person who made it or owned it, and ‘vallum Aelium’ which appears to mean ‘the Wall of Hadrian’, Aelius being Hadrian’s family name.

The stories of how the pans were found are also included. The Rudge Cup was found at Rudge Coppice, Wiltshire in 1725, the Amiens Patera was found at Amiens in 1949, and the Ilam Pan was found in Staffordshire in 2003.

The pans are in separate collections. The Rudge Cup is in the Duke of Northumberland’s museum at Alnwick Castle, the Amiens Patera is in the Museum of Picardy, Amiens and the Ilam Pan is jointly owned by the British Museum, Carlisle’s Tullie House Museum and the Potteries Museum, and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

They were last brought together for an exhibition at Tullie House in 2009.



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