Silchester objects: revisited

With Hampshire Cultural Trust Conservator, Claire Woodhead

Fresh from the last season of the University of Reading Silchester bathhouse excavations, the latest batch of copper alloy, shale and iron objects hit my conservation lab at Hampshire Cultural Trust's Chilcomb House headquarters shortly before lockdown. With excavations currently suspended and our sites remaining closed, conservation work to clean and conserve some of these finds can still begin and continue, courtesy of a relatively portable microscope, a new picnic table and some reshuffling in the spare room.

Roman brooch

Join me in a timelapse journey down the microscope, as the soil is cleaned away from one of the copper alloy objects, a Roman ‘fibula’ brooch.

Roman long handled toilet spoon

As conservation cleaning on the current batch of Silchester objects continues,
join me for another timelapse trip down the microscope, discovering the long-hidden surface of a Roman long handled toilet spoon from the bathhouse site.

The object was initially thought to be a hairpin however new information has come to light that the object is not a hairpin at all. The finds specialist has now looked at the object and is now able to see that it is in fact a long handled toilet spoon. These sorts of items often form part of a toiletry set with other implements such as tweezers – they are quite often found at Roman sites.

It’s a fantastic demonstration of why investigative cleaning is so important – to aid interpretation, so that finds can be properly recorded

Taking measurements

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