The First Prey by the Saxons

The first prey by the Saxons from Ireland or in Ireland.

Annals of Ulster, U434.1.

The Angles came to England.

Annals of Ulster, U464.2.

The second prey of the Saxons from Ireland (as some state) was carried off this year, as Maucteus (Mochta) says. Thus I have found in the Book of Cuanu.

 — Annals of Ulster, U471.1.

[These are the only V century citations of the “English” in the Annals of Ulster. In 409 or 410, the Romano-British were either invited by the emperor to see to their own defence or rather expelled the Roman magistrates from their cities, effectively ending Roman rule in Britain.]

Staffordshire Moorlands Pan

Staffordshire Moorlands Pan, a Romano-British Celtic-styled trulla; II Century; British Museum.

A copper-alloy pan (trulla), with polychrome enamel inlay, lacking its handle and base.
The circular bowl, though a little distorted in places, is complete, with a simple beaded rim and raised foot-ring. A narrow zone of differential corrosion and solder splash in an arc immediately beneath the rim discloses the former position of the handle and its width at the point of contact. The handle would probably have been flat, of bow-tie shape, with enamel inlay on the upper surface.

The convex wall of the pan is decorated with a band of Celtic-style curvilinear ornament – eight roundels, with eight pairs of intervening hollow-sided triangles. Each roundel encloses a swirling six-armed whirligig centred on a three-petalled device inlaid with red, blue, turquoise and yellow-coloured enamel.

Immediately above the band of roundels is an engraved inscription, inlaid with turquoise enamel, which runs around the pan in an unbroken and unpunctuated sequence of 56 letters.

The Inscription:


Four forts at the western end of Hadrian’s Wall are listed: MAIS (Bowness-on-Solway) COGGABATA (Drumburgh) VXELODVNVM (Stanwix) and CAMMOGLANNA (Castlesteads).

More difficult to interpret are the words RIGORE VALI AELI DRACONIS. ‘Rigore vali’ seems to be a direct reference to Hadrian’s Wall, for in Roman times it was known as ‘the vallum’. ‘Aeli’ may also belong with that phrase, specifying ‘the wall of Hadrian’, for Aelius was Hadrian’s family name. Alternatively, ‘Aeli’ could belong with the word ‘Draco’, forming the personal name Aelius Draco (or Dracon). He may have been a soldier or junior officer, of Greek origin, who acquired his citizenship under the emperor Hadrian, and who had the pan made as a souvenir of his military service on the Wall.

The Great Torc from Snettisham

The Great Snettisham Torc is constructed from just over a kilogram of gold mixed with silver. It is made from sixty-four threads. Each thread was 1.9 mm wide. Eight threads were twisted together at a time to make eight separate ropes of metal. These were then twisted around each other to make the final torc. The ends of the torc were cast in moulds. The hollow ends were then welded onto the ropes. The torc was found when the field at Ken Hill, Snettisham was ploughed in 1950. Other hoards were found in the same field in 1948 and 1990. The torc was buried tied together with a complete bracelet by another torc. A coin found in caught in the ropes of the Great Torc suggests the hoard was buried around 75 BC.


Snettisham Hoard

The Snettisham Hoard in the British Museum.

The Snettisham Hoard is a series of discoveries of Iron Age precious metal, found in the Snettisham area of the English county of Norfolk between 1948 and 1973.

The hoard consists of metal, jet and over 150 gold torc fragments, more than 70 of which form complete torcs, dating from 70 BC. Though the origins are unknown it is of a high enough quality to have been royal treasure of the Iceni.

In 1985 there was also a find of Romano-British jewellery and raw materials buried in a clay pot in AD 155, the Snettisham Jeweller’s Hoard. Though it has no direct connection with the nearby Iron Age finds, it may be evidence of a long tradition of gold- and silver-working in the area. This apparent tradition extends further into the Roman period in Norfolk, as evidenced by a later hoard of metalwork known as the Thetford treasure.

The finds are deposited in Norwich Castle Museum and the British Museum.

Staffordshire Dragonesque Brooch

Bronze dragonesque brooch discovered at Ilam, Staffordshire. Unusual for this type of artefact in that it lacks enamel decoration. c. AD 75-175.

Another Dragonesque Brooch

Dragonesque Brooch, 1st century; Provincial Roman, probably made in Britain; Bronze with champlevé enamel.

Dragonesque Brooch

A Romano-British dragonesque-style brooch; first or second century A.D. Bronze with champlevé enamel inserts.