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Berthouville Treasure

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

A treasure from Berthouville
Author: Marie-Lan Nguyen | Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic

The “Berthouville Treasure” was accidentally discovered by a French farmer while plowing in northern France. The discovery came in March 1830 and the treasure found contained one of the most impressive collections of very well preserved Roman objects made of silver. This is the third such great find in history.

The treasure consisted of many unique artifacts made mainly of silver, but also of other valuable metals. Scientists have estimated that they come from the 1st – 2nd century CE. The whole treasure consists of 93 items, which together weigh 25 kg. Among the artifacts, you can distinguish cups, jars, bowls, phiale – an ancient vessel used during libation.

Phiale
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

In addition, two silver statuettes should be noted. One of them is made of silver and represents the Greek nymph Maja; the other with a height of 60 cm shows the god of commerce Mercury.

Mercury statue
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

However, the question that arises is: who was the owner of this treasure? Scientists initially thought that such a large collection of valuable objects was collected for ritual purposes. However, this option was excluded because the items came from different periods.

Scientists, however, managed to find inscriptions on silver drinking cups (scyphi) decorated with centaurs, referring to the worship of Dionysus. As it turned out, the treasure belonged to a certain Quintus Domitius Titus.

After finding the treasure, archaeologists came to the place of discovery three more times: 1861, 1862 and 1986. During their excavations, they discovered the remains of a Gallo-Roman theater and a mysterious temple probably created as Mercury’s sanctuary.

Currently, the treasure from Berthouville is located in the Getty Villa in Malibu, California in the USA. There, scientists carry out the process of renovation and research as part of a several-year project.

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