Monday 13 July 2020

A Roman Ring in a Stately Home and Archaeo-fantasies

This is going around a lot on Twitter at the moment (even though it is hardly original research):
Gareth Harney@OptimoPrincipi
1) A stranger than fiction Roman ring mystery thread: this enigmatic Roman gold ring was found in a ploughed field near Silchester in 1785. The square bezel has a portrait of the pagan goddess Venus, inscribed backwards SUNEV for use as a signet ring by the owner. Curiously... [continued]
An association is made between an (undated) lead curse and an (undated) inscribed gold ring on the (unsubstantiated - see here) assumption that among the however-many-million inhabitants of Roman Britain, there had only ever been one guy (who had a ring) called 'Senicianus'.

I find this "found in a ploughed field near Silchester" a bit suspicious. In general, in Britain a lot of reports of pre-1800 finds are oddly associated with various country seats, and this in some cases is because when you look into it, the gentlemen who resided there had connections with, or were involved with, the early antiquaries' milieu. Of course this also involved being in touch with the antiquities' trade and the collecting of Grand Tour items. This always needs to be taken into account when dealing with 'finds'in the vicinity of these residences (see here    What a State to be in: The "Petham Balsarium" PACHI Thursday, 16 January 2014).

So it is a bit disappointing that while there is a lot of jollity about the Latin and Tolkien, this query was not answered:
Paul Barford @PortantIssues 12 lip
n answer to @OptimoPrincipi and @TheVyneNT
What 1785 documentation is there of findspot? The Chutes of Vyne seem to have come into its possession not as landowners of the alleged findspot, but by purchase - in which case is the findspot not an assumption? Anything from the antiquities trade at this time, as today, is suspicious.
The Chute family, were known to have an interest in history and antiquities. So how do we know this was a local find at all, or even fond in Britain?

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