How to find hoards with a metal detector - How to Find Hoards - Introduction - Northumberland - The Corbridge Treasure
The Corbridge Lanx Treasure - Hoard of Roman Treasure in the River Tyne
Above: The Corbridge Lanx, a fourth century Roman serving platter made from solid silver. Photograph by Michel Wal.
The Corbridge Lanx, a very large solid silver dish made during the later Roman period, was discovered in the River Tyne at Corbridge by a nine year old girl in 1735. Other silver Roman objects were recovered in the same area over the years, but their current whereabouts is unknown. The Corbridge Lanx was probably made for use in a temple or shrine, the scene on the dish is believed to be a depiction of a shrine to Apollo, so it stands to reason that the Lanx was probably used in a temple to Apollo somewhere in the north of England.
Loss, Offering or deliberate concealment
How did the Corbridge Lanx and the other items from the hoard end up in the river Tyne? There are a few possibilities. Some have suggested that the hoard was buried in the ground near the river bank and centuries of erosion caused the treasure to be deposited into the river. Maybe the owners of the Lanx were trying to cross the river and their baggage was swept away. Or perhaps the Lanx, and the other silver objects found in the area, were thrown into the water as an offering to the gods.
The Corbridge Treasure Today
The Corbridge Lanx is the only known surviving piece of the Corbridge Treasure, it can be seen today in the British Museum, who bought the Lanx from the Duke of Northumberland in 1993 for in excess of �1.8 million. But the story of the Corbridge treasure is far from over.
I for one believe that the bulk of the Corbridge treasure was never recovered. Somewhere in the river Tyne at Corbridge is an undiscovered Hoard of roman silver that may surpass the Hoxne Hoard or even the Mildenhall Treasure in its importance.
There is also the mystery of what happened to those other silver vessels that were recovered in the eighteenth century. Were they smelted down by the local silversmith and used to make other objects? I really hope not.
Maybe somewhere in Corbridge, sitting on someone's mantle piece, is a highly significant piece of fourth century roman silver that has been passed down through a family who are completely unaware of its importance.
If you live in the area, scour the car boot sales and local antique shops for old looking silverware, the rest of the Corbridge treasure may still be out there somewhere!
1. Lanx is an archaic word meaning tray or platter.
- The Corbridge Lanx at the British Museum website.
- Picture of the Corbidge Lanx at the British Museum
- How to find a hoard with a metal detector
Hoard Hunting County Guide
Below is a county by county guide to hoard finds. These lists should not be considered exhaustive and new material will be added as more information and sources become available. All of the locations listed should be considered private property until proven otherwise and the proper permissions obtained, preferably in writing, in advance of any visit. Some hoard sites are scheduled ancient monuments, be very sure that any location you wish to metal detect on is not a protected archaeological site.