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Items Used by Roman Cavalry Unearthed by Metal Detectorist

Items used by Roman cavalry and other treasures
A metal detectorist uncovered items used by Roman cavalry and other treasures. Credit: Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales

Metal artifacts from the Iron Age and Roman times were found by Ian Porter, a metal detectorist, on an island in Wales.

The discovery, made in 2020 while Porter was exploring pastures and spring on Anglesey, has been declared a national treasure, according to Amgueddfa Cymru — Museum Wales.

Porter expressed his excitement about finding these items, noting that they offer a glimpse into the island’s history, with the realization that the last person who handled them lived nearly two thousand years ago.

Porter quickly informed the authorities from the Portable Antiquities Scheme in Wales about the discovery of 16 artifacts. These items included Late Iron Age chariot fittings dating back to the first century A.D., along with Roman cavalry fittings from the same era.

Among the Roman artifacts were segments from three bridle-bits, a terret (which guides the reins), a ram’s head fitting, and a set of four harness discs, as reported by Live Science.

In addition to the chariot fittings and cavalry gear, Porter uncovered more treasures. These included a decorated brooch, four coins, and a lead pot repair, all dating back to the British Roman period (A.D. 43 to 410).

Among the discoveries was also a hefty Roman copper ingot weighing 45 pounds (20 kilograms). This ingot, used in copper manufacturing, was probably smelted using metal from a nearby mine.

Location might be a ‘significant place for religious ceremony’

Adam Gwilt, principal curator of prehistory at Museum Wales, emphasized the significance of the discovery, calling it an important new find for the island. He noted that the artifacts were likely buried during or after the Roman army’s invasion of the island in A.D. 60 or 61.

Gwilt suggested that the location of the items near a spring could indicate that the person who buried them viewed the area as a significant spot for religious ceremonies during a time of conflict and change.

Experts believe that a majority of the items, such as the chariot fittings and harness pieces, were deposited at the site between A.D. 50 and 120. The coins, on the other hand, seem to have been added gradually throughout the Roman period, with the latest batch being minted between A.D. 364 and 378.

This discovery isn’t the island’s first encounter with artifacts from this era. Back in the 1940s, another collection of Iron Age items was unearthed there, according to Live Science.

Ian Jones, who oversees the building and collections at Oriel Môn, a museum in Anglesey, emphasized the island’s deep connection to this significant era in our history.

The artifacts’ significance lies not only in the items themselves but also in how they were buried, marking a pivotal moment in history. These treasures will be preserved and showcased as part of the collection at Oriel Môn, according to Live Science.

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