Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unique Roman Glass Dish Discovered At London Grave

Date:
May 7, 2009
Source:
Museum Of London
Summary:
Archeologists have discovered an exquisite Roman polychrome millefiori dish in East London, U.K. The dish is made up of hundreds of indented glass petals (the term millefiori means simply "a thousand flowers") in an intricate repeated pattern. It was highly fragmented but miraculously held together by nothing more than the earth around it.

Archeologists have discovered an exquisite Roman polychrome millefiori dish in East London, U.K. It has been painstakingly reassembled by Museum of London Archaeology conservator Liz Goodman.
Credit: Image courtesy of Museum Of London

Archeologists have discovered an exquisite Roman polychrome millefiori dish in East London, U.K. The dish is made up of hundreds of indented glass petals (the term millefiori means simply “a thousand flowers”) in an intricate repeated pattern and was found during excavations in Prescot Street, Aldgate, by L – P : Archaeology. It was highly fragmented but miraculously held together by nothing more than the earth around it.

It has been painstakingly reassembled by Museum of London Archaeology conservator Liz Goodman.

The dish is extremely rare and an unprecedented find, not only from London but from across the Western Roman empire. Originally the blue translucent petals, bordered with white, would have been embedded in a bright red opaque glass matrix. The hue was still present when the dish was uncovered, with the vermillion appearance diminishing as the water-saturated glass dried out. The red colouring can be seen around the rim. The complexity of its manufacture indicates that the dish was a highly-prized and valuable item. Beautifully crafted vessels like this were particularly in vogue in the 1st and early 2nd centuries. Dating is underway to establish the precise period of the find.

The dish formed part of the grave goods of a Roman Londoner whose cremated remains were uncovered, probably buried in a wooden container, in a cemetery in Londinium’s Eastern quarter. A number of other ceramic and glass vessels were also ranged along the sides of the casket, suggesting a rich and unusual burial.

The excavations at Prescot Street have continued the process of the recording of the extensive eastern cemetery of Roman London which, by law, lay outside the city wall. This and previous excavations have found both cremations and inhumations (burial of the body) that spanned over 400 years of Roman occupation from the late 1st to early 5th century. This burial came from an area of intense burials at the eastern end of the site where there was also a stone mausoleum, a possible funerary structure and a series of burial groups which perhaps indicate the on-going use of cemetery plots. Indeed, this particular burial had, at a later date, had another cremation burial interred on the same spot which may point to a family connection.

Liz Goodman, Museum of London Archaeology conservator said ““Piecing together and conserving such a complete artefact offered a rare and thrilling challenge. We occasionally get tiny fragments of millefiori, but the opportunity to work on a whole artefact of this nature is extraordinary. The dish is extremely fragile but the glasswork is intact and illuminates beautifully nearly two millennia after being crafted.”

Guy Hunt, Director, L – P : Archaeology said “The dig at Prescot Street produced an amazing range of Roman cemetery archaeology; it is fantastic for us that one of the many finds is such an exciting and beautiful object. It is great to be able to put an object such as this into context and to get a first hand impression of a rather wealthy east Londoner.”

About Milleflore Glass

Millefiore is a glass-working technique created from glass rods with multi coloured patterns that are only visible at the cut ends – like a stick of rock with the writing only visible once cut. These rods are created by heating and melding lengths of different coloured glass to create an individual pattern. Here, a solid red cane is set at the core with blue and white canes set around it to produce the petal effect. The small cross sections of glass rod are then used to create bigger pieces. It is a very labour intensive – and hence very exclusive – craft.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Museum Of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Museum Of London. "Unique Roman Glass Dish Discovered At London Grave." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430092235.htm>.
Museum Of London. (2009, May 7). Unique Roman Glass Dish Discovered At London Grave. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430092235.htm
Museum Of London. "Unique Roman Glass Dish Discovered At London Grave." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090430092235.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre

AP (July 29, 2014) Food scraps and other items left on the grounds by picnickers brings unwelcome visitors to the grounds of the world famous and popular Louvre Museum in Paris. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

London's Famed 'Gherkin' Goes on Sale for 650 Mln

AFP (July 29, 2014) London's "Gherkin" office tower, one of the landmarks on the British capital's skyline, went on sale for about 650 million ($1.1 billion, 820 million euros) on Tuesday after being placed into receivership. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tourists Disappointed to Find Rome Attractions Under Restoration

Tourists Disappointed to Find Rome Attractions Under Restoration

AFP (July 26, 2014) Tourists visiting Italy at the peak of the summer season are disappointed to find some of Rome's most famous attractions being restored and offering limited access. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins