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Roman toilet spoon among new discoveries in South Wales

A Roman toilet spoon is among several new discoveries recently announced by Museum Wales.

The spoon was uncovered by a metal detectorist in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, which was reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme for Wales (PAS Cymru) and designated as treasure under the Treasure Act 1996.

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The spoon, which is made of silver, has been identified as a Roman ligula, a multi-purpose tool normally used as a toilet and cosmetic implement. Ligulae were used for extracting cosmetics and perfumes from long-necked bottles, and the application onto the face or body.

The use of silver in crafting the object implies its probable application for medical purposes, particularly in the extraction and administration of medicines. This is attributed to silver’s well-documented antimicrobial properties, known to effectively combat bacteria, fungi, and specific viruses.

Comparable silver artefacts have been discovered in collections of ancient medical instruments across the Ancient Greek and Roman world.

Museum Wales also reports the discovery of a hoard of seven bronze artefacts in the Pendoylan of the Vale of Glamorgan. The hoard consists of fragments from a pair of bronze swords, and five bronze socketed axes that have been dated to the Late Bronze Age around 1000 to 800 BC.

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Image Credit : Museum Wales

Axes of this type can be found in large numbers across south-east Wales in hoard groups and as single finds. Examples have also been found in north and west Wales, across southern England and in northern France, indicating long-distance metal exchange networks operated during the Late Bronze Age.

Chris Griffiths a PhD researcher with Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales and the University of Reading, said: “This hoard is unusual as it contains fragments from two swords, one of which is a blade tip fragment with decorative grooves which was made in north-western France. This small sword fragment therefore forms a key part of a much wider story, connecting those people who lived in Pendoylan Community with those who lived in north-western France, around 3,000 years ago.”

Header Image Credit : Museum Wales

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.
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