Treasure returning to Suffolk

The Mildenhall Treasure is coming back to East Anglia where it truly belongs – but only for five months in 2005.This fabulous hoard of ancient Roman tableware, discovered by a farm worker on the Norfolk-Suffolk border in the 1940s, is to be displayed at the Norwich Castle Museum stop on a national tour of architectural treasures normally lodged in the British Museum.

The Mildenhall Treasure is coming back to East Anglia where it truly belongs – but only for five months in 2005.

This fabulous hoard of ancient Roman tableware, discovered by a farm worker on the Norfolk-Suffolk border in the 1940s, is to be displayed at the Norwich Castle Museum stop on a national tour of architectural treasures normally lodged in the British Museum.

Long shrouded in mystery, and prompting an adventure story by the late Roald Dahl, the Mildenhall Treasure centres on a great platter decorated with scenes from a mythical feast. For a time its finder used the priceless relic as a fruit dish.

Also returning are exquisite Iceni torcs from Snettisham and coins from the Hoxne hoard buried by a family fleeing with the last of the Roman legions about 410AD.


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The touring Treasure: Finding Our Past show further features the iconic chessmen found on the Isle of Lewis and featured in the first Harry Potter movie.

Other gems in the array of gold and silver (plus pewter and lead) objects include a Bronze Age gold cup recently found at Ringlemere in Kent and revealing important new information about Britain's pre-history.

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But, with amateur metal detectors now accounting for 90pc of treasure finds, the key aim of the exhibition is to celebrate the enormous contribution that the public has made to uncovering the secrets of the past.

A British Museum spokesman said: "Responsible metal detecting and reporting of finds has greatly enhanced our historical knowledge.

"It has enabled archaeologists to examine the contexts of finds as well as the find itself, helping us to understand how objects were used, their ritual or social significance and why they came to be at the site."

n Treasure: Finding Our Past is at the British Museum until March 14 next year. A national tour culminates at the Norwich Castle Museum from July 2005.

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