Shepton Mallet Amulet

Contributed by Somerset County Museum

Shepton Mallet Amulet © Somerset County Council Heritage Service

This silver amulet was excavated in 1990 from a Roman grave forming part of an early Christian cemetery at Shepton Mallet. The grave dated from the late fourth or early fifth century AD. The amulet caused great excitement because it included an early Christian symbol known as the Chi-Rho, a monogram of the first two letters of Christ's name in Greek. Shepton Mallet's theatre was even renamed 'The Amulet' in honour of the remarkable find.

In 2008 the metal of the amulet was scientifically analysed. The analysis proved that the silver had been refined in the 19th century or later. The amulet is a hoax.

Archaeological fakes and forgeries have been created over the centuries for a wide variety of reasons. Why the amulet was made remains a mystery, and the person responsible has never come forward.

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