The Traprain Treasure at Whithorn

A piece of the silver
A piece of the silver

A treasure trove of silver once used as the centre piece for 5th century late Roman banquets has gone on display at the Whithorn Story.

Loaned by National Museums Scotland, the objects are part of the 20 kgs of high quality precious metal discovered at Traprain Law in East Lothian. The hoard was buried in a pit and came to light during an excavation of a hill fort almost 100 years ago.

Most of the fragments started life as eating and drinking vessels and would have originally graced the tables of the Roman elite. Among the items on display is a wash basin decorated with a scene from pagan mythology of a sea-nymph riding a sea-panther.

The hoard also includes bowls with beaded rims once used for serving exotic food and a triangular dish which is unique to the Roman world. There are also a number of vessels which resemble drinking cups but were probably used for salt and other spices.

The objects, which form part of the Whithorn Story exhibition, were produced during a period of religious upheaval. While Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire in the 4th century, many people still believed in the old gods. This explains the mix of both Christian and pagan messages.

The Whithorn Story exhibition centre and coffee shop is open every day until October 31st.