A personal stash of mystery Roman treasure that was unearthed in Backworth, North Tyneside nearly 200 years ago is to return to the North East for the very first time.
The Backworth Hoard will be on display at Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend, on loan from the BritishMuseum from 24 May – 15 September 2013 as part of the British Museum Spotlight loans and tours programme.
The hoard will feature as the centrepiece in an exhibition that will shed new light on life on the Roman – Barbarian frontier.
Geoff Woodward, Manager of North Tyneside Museums at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museum,s said: “It’s very exciting that these beautiful precious objects are going to be returning to the area where they were buried nearly 1900 years ago. They are high status objects that demonstrate the wealth and power of an individual living at the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall.
“The circumstances of their burial give us a connection, albeit shrouded in mystery, with that individual and a glimpse into the murky overlap of cultures on this key frontier of the Roman Empire.
We’re delighted to have been able to work in partnership with the British Museum to create this fascinating exhibition.”
Dr Ralph Jackson, Senior Keeper of Romano-British Collections at the British Museum, said: “The Backworth Hoard, purchased by the British Museum in 1850, was one of the first acquisitions made specifically to build up the National Collections and exhibit British antiquities.
“As a probable temple treasure, dedicated to the shadowy Mother-Goddesses, it is not only of great rarity but also enigmatic, beautiful and fascinating.
“The Treasure is still a key part of the British Museum’s Roman Britain display, and we are extremely pleased to collaborate with our partners at Segedunum Roman Fort to display it temporarily for the benefit of those living in the region where it was buried so long ago.”
The Backworth Hoard is of national significance, and features gold and silver artefacts such as a silver pan, spoons and gilded silver brooches that were believed to be treasure deposits from a pagan shrine dedicated to the Mother-goddesses near the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall.
The exhibition will examine the complex relationship between the Romans and their environment, the native people and the indigenous deities of northern Britain, and beyond.
An exciting programme of family events will take place at Segedunum Roman Fort over the course of the exhibition, check www.segedunumromanfort.org.uk for details.
Segedunum Roman Fort is open from 30 March – 31 October Monday to Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11am to 4pm, then from 1 November 2013 – 31 March 2014 Monday to Friday 10am – 3pm.