A piece of history from Roman Northumberland

Spring is finally here and all of a sudden it’s time to tidy up your garden in preparation for the long overdue first BBQ of the season.
Whilst most people will probably be digging out last year’s unsuccessful botanical experiments and the odd plastic bottle, the lucky residents of Gilsland will better keep their eyes open as they might be in for a surprise.

The group of bronze items and terracotta fragments of lot 174 in the forthcoming Antiquities and Tribal Art sale were all found in the 19th Century by the Crellin family in the garden of their home, Denton Foot cottage, in Gilsland, Northumberland.

All the items can be dated to the 2nd-3rd Century AD. At that time the city of Gilsland was part of a number of settlements along the Hadrian’s Wall which had been erected at the beginning of the 2nd Century AD.

The finds were authenticated by Chesterholm Museum, Vindolanda Trust, in 2003 and were displayed at the Tullie House Museum, Carlisle, between February 2008 and April 2012.

Highlights of the group are two finely-cast and well preserved bronze figures of Hercules, which were possibly left as offerings for a local shrine dedicated to the demi-god.

Another interesting item is a handle fragment from a bronze skillet in the shape of a bulls head with a lead core. This type was imported, possibly from Italy, showing the strong links between Rome and what at the time would have been the northern border of the empire.
The lot will be offered with an estimate of £1,000-1,500 on the 11 May 2016.