Can’t believe it’s not butter! Roman Minerva statue that was found festering in an old MARGARINE TUB at a farmer’s house is among record number of treasure discoveries made by the public last year
- Figure of the Roman goddess of wisdom Minerva was discovered in a container
- It is believed the statue had been languishing in the margarine tub for years
- It was just one of 1,267 treasures found by Britain’s army of hobbyists in 2017
An ancient statue discovered in a margarine tub at a farmer’s house in rural Oxfordshire was among the treasures found by the British public last year.
The figure of the Roman goddess of wisdom Minerva was rediscovered in a container by a hobbying metal detectorist.
The statue, which had been languishing in the margarine tub for years, was just one of 1,267 treasures found by Britain’s army of hobbyists in 2017.
An ancient statue uncovered in a margarine tub at a farmer’s house in rural Oxfordshire is among the treasures revealed to the world by the British public
Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom and healing (as well as the arts, commerce, strategy and magic).
She is generally depicted with weapons or with an owl.
Metal detectorist Len Jackman, 66, found the Romano-British bronze piece neglected in a margarine tub of artefacts at a farmer friend’s house in rural Oxfordshire.
The unvalued statue had been in the tub for years before Mr Jackman noticed it and took it to be assessed.
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He said: ‘It was in this margarine tub, in a room by the kitchen.
‘I thought it was something. I was going to get my own finds valued, and he said ‘you might as well take that as well’. I said ‘I think you’ll be getting a phone call’.
‘You could see it was Roman. You could tell by the weight.
‘There is a thrill. When you’ve found something, you could be the first person to hold something in thousands of years.’
The figure of the Roman goddess of wisdom Minerva (pictured) was rediscovered in a container by a hobbying metal detectorist
The statue, which had been languishing in the margarine tub for years, was just one of 1,267 treasures found by Britain’s army of hobbyists in 2017. Pictured is the inside mechanism of post-Medieval silver pocket watch found in Buckinghamshire
Arts minister Michael Ellis thanked the public for their contributions as he announced the figures from the Portable Antiquities Annual report.
A total of 78,000 archaeological items, some classified as treasure, were logged in 2017 alone.
The report found 93 per cent of these were found by metal detectorists.
Objects like the statute of Minerva have been brought to light in remarkable circumstances.
Pictured is the post-Medieval silver pocket watch from Buckinghamshire. A total of 78,000 archaeological items, some classified as treasure, were logged in 2017 alone
Pictured is the outside case of the silver pocket watch. The thrill has driven 1.5 per cent of the UK population to take part in metal detecting, according to the arts minister
The thrill has driven 1.5 per cent of the UK population to take part in metal detecting, according to the arts minister.
Such enthusiasts have found a Bronze age gold bulla in the Shropshire marshes, which has been dated at 3,500 years old.
A lamp originating in Africa which made its way to Roman-era Britain was also dredged from the Thames by mudlarks.
Mr Ellis welcomed their work and announced that a consultation would take place on how to accommodate the increasing numbers of antiquities being unearthed by a growing number of enthusiasts.
Such enthusiasts have found a Bronze age gold bulla (pictured) in the Shropshire marshes, which has been dated at 3,500 years old
Pictured is the bulla found in Shropshire. Norfolk was the county which recorded the most finds by those searching for objects, followed by Lincolnshire then Suffolkframe
Speaking at the British Museum, he said: ‘Being out of the House Of Commons is a good thing at the moment. We have quite a few fossils over there. Whether they would be classified as treasures is another thing altogether.
‘The Roman statue of Minerva found in a food container. It was found by knowledge. That expertise has enriched us all.
‘I want to thank everyone involved in the treasure process. It brings home to me how close we are to the people of the past. We can relate to them.’
The minister called on those involved with unearthing treasures to suggest ways to improve the system by which they are officially recorded, as the numbers taking part in metal detecting have reached a reported 1.5 per cent of the population.
Norfolk was the county which recorded the most finds by those searching for objects, followed by Lincolnshire then Suffolk.
WHEN DID THE ROMANS OCCUPY BRITAIN?
55BC – Julius Caesar crossed the channel with around 10,000 soldiers. They landed at a beach in Deal and were met by a force of Britons. Caesar was forced to withdraw.
54BC – Caesar crossed the channel with 27,000 infantry and cavalry. Again they landed at deal but were unopposed. They marched inland and after hard battles they defeated the Britons and key tribal leaders surrendered.
However, later that year, Caesar was forced to return to Gaul to deal with problems there and the Romans left.
54BC – 43BC – Although there were no Romans present in Britain during these years, their influence increased due to trade links.
43AD – A Roman force of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius arrived in Colchester with reinforcements. Claudius appointed Plautius as Governor of Britain and returned to Rome.
In 43AD, a Roman force (artist’s impression) of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius then arrived in Colchester with reinforcements
47AD – Londinium (London) was founded and Britain was declared part of the Roman empire. Networks of roads were built across the country.
75 – 77AD – Romans defeated the last resistant tribes, making all Britain Roman. Many Britons started adopting Roman customs and law.
122AD – Emperor Hadrian ordered that a wall be built between England and Scotland to keep Scottish tribes out.
312AD – Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal throughout the Roman empire.
228AD – The Romans were being attacked by barbarian tribes and soldiers stationed in the country started to be recalled to Rome.
410AD – All Romans were recalled to Rome and Emperor Honorious told Britons they no longer had a connection to Rome.
Source: History on the net
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