A cache of almost 50 Roman silver vessels has been discovered in Vinkovci, Croatia. With a total weight of over 35kg, the 4th-century collection includes plates, bowls, jugs, cups and spoons, many of them intricately decorated with gold plating and images of animals, plants and people.
The hoard was discovered at the end of March, during archaeological investigations by Geoarheo, led by Sime Vrkić, ahead of construction work in the city centre. In the 4th century AD, Vinkovci – or Colonia Aurelia Cibalae – was an important Roman settlement in the province of Pannonia Secunda, and birthplace to two Roman emperors, Valentian I (r.AD 364-375). and his brother Valens (r.AD 364-378).
Many of the 48 vessels are damaged and will be sent to Zagreb for conservation and further study, funded by the Ministry of Culture, but they are expected to ultimately return to Vinkovci for display in the City Museum.
Hrvoje Vulic, Vinkovci City Museum archaeologist, told CWA: ‘This is most definitely one of the most important finds in Croatian archaeology, and it comes as a crown of 40 years of systematic rescue excavations carried out in Vinkovci by the Museum and private archaeological companies. It is also a find of great importance for Vinkovci, for when returned it is going to be a centrepiece of our Museum collection (there are already plans for a new building that will house this hoard). It is truly amazing.’
Research on the vessels is still ongoing, but We will be covering this discovery in greater detail in the next issue of CWA (#53).