Drinking cup from the Crownthorpe Hoard

Contributed by Norwich Castle Museum

Bronze drinking cup with Celtic-style handles from the Crownthorpe Hoard. © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

In 1982 a metal-detector user discovered a hoard of Iron Age and Roman drinking vessels that had been deliberately buried near a Romano-British settlement at Crownthorpe in central Norfolk.

This important group of objects comprises seven bronze vessels, representing a drinking set, in the Roman fashion. Some of the vessels originated in Italy, but two drinking cups are unique in style. They are Roman in form but their handles are decorated with Celtic-style swimming ducks, unparalleled outside of this hoard. The cups exhibit a fusion of two separate art traditions.

The hoard had been hidden in the ground in the mid 1st century AD, when the Iceni tribe under Boudica rose in revolt against the Romans. It may have been owned by a wealthy local person who had hoped to enhance his status by adopting foreign modes of behaviour. As a result, he would have fallen foul of Boudica's army and forced to flee, leaving his possessions behind.

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