Sunday 30 June 2019

From Crazy Cressy's Mate's Bonnet to Christie's - Still no mention of the Actual Findspot [UPDATE]

The bronze doggie that Crazy Cressy and his mate Andy were toying with the idea of mounting on the bonnet of Andy's car has turned up again, now in Christie's. The whole poorly-hoiked but money-making hoard is on offer as a job lot:
Estimate GBP 30,000 - GBP 50,000 (USD 37,980 - USD 63,300)
A ROMANO-BRITISH BRONZE DOG CIRCA 4TH CENTURY A.D. 5 ¼ in. (13.4 cm.) high; 8 ½ in. (21.4 cm.) long

Found in Gloucestershire, August 2017.
Registered with the Portable Antiquities Scheme, ref. no. GLO-BE1187.
For those who'd like to check the facts about where this stuff was come from and the manner in which it was hoiked from the archaeological context, trashing it, you need go no further than this blog (see here). In their efforts to make this sad episode look a bit respectable, Christie's offer the potential buyer something called a "lot essay" with a load of wikipedia  narrativisation ("Throughout antiquity, dogs were .... [yawn]...  companion of Asclepius, Greek god of medicine.... [yawn]...  in the Roman pantheon they were linked to the healing aspect of Mars.... [yawn]... in some Celtic rituals, 'licking dog' figures were dedicated to the local healing god Nodens"). Hmm, Mars the Healer and this one is not licking, its lolling.
Discovered within a sizeable hoard of Roman bronze artefacts, this expressive standing hound is a rare example of a healing statue in the form of a dog. Its short legs join the elongated body with distinctively engraved haunches, each styled with chevrons or feathered patterning. Engraved fur similarly details the hind haunches, genitals, and each clawed paw. [...] Among the remainder of the hoard (the entirety of which is included in the present lot) is a bronze face fragment from a statuette. The size of the fragment indicates that the original complete figure may have been connected to the bronze dog in some way. Bronze fragments of drapery hint at a much larger bronze statue over three feet high, which had been broken prior to the deposition of the hoard. The presence of a follis of Crispus, minted at Trier with a globe-on-altar reverse, proves that the hoard could not have been buried before 321 A.D. - the earliest this type of coin had been minted. The eclectic variety of artefacts in the hoard suggests that it may have been deposited with the intention of later recovering and melting the contents.
So that sword never turned up then?

The BM was "very concerned" once, perhaps now they'll get their fingers out and buy this off Crazy Cressy, Andy and that landowner - even though the archaeological context was trashed on recovery.

Hat-tip Dorothy King and Ellie.

UPDATE 3rd July 
Estimate was GBP 30,000 - GBP 50,000  Price realised GBP 137,500 -but of course we all know the UK's metal detectorists are only into their Collection-Driven Exploitation of the Archaeological Record from "a love of history", not fer th' munny at all...

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