The late Roman silver treasure from Traprain Law - NMS Research Repository
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The late Roman silver treasure from Traprain Law

31 May 2020

Abstract

Excavated from Traprain Law, East Lothian, Scotland, in May 1919, was one of the most spectacular discoveries of Roman silver ever made in Europe - and the biggest hoard of hacksilver': 23kg, battered, crushed and chopped up. Blame for the destruction has hitherto been laid at the door ofbarbarians' but this study changes that view.

An international team of scholars has reviewed the hoard's origins and manufacture, its use as elite tableware, its hacking and later reuse. A century of new discoveries and ideas allow fresh conclusions, especially about the hacking. With wide-ranging parallels from across Europe, the authors argue that hacking was a deliberate Roman policy to create bullion at times of economic crisis, turning valued vessels into weights of silver to be used in frontier politics, to pay off groups from beyond the empire, or hire them as mercenaries

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