Image showing a small bowl-shaped vessel, inlaid with turquoise, red and navy enamel and inscribed with Latin figures around the rim
The Staffordshire Pan
A copper alloy 'patera' or handled pan, more commonly known as The Staffordshire Pan. Decorated with 'Celtic-style' motifs and inlaid with enamel, the pan's most unusual feature is an inscription around its rim which lists four forts along Hadrian's Wall: Bowness (MAIS), Drumburgh (COGGABATA), Stanwix (UXELODUNUM) and Castlesteads (CAMMOGLANNA). It also incorporates the name of an individual: Aelius Draco. It's speculated that the pan may have been a souvenir or memento brought back to Staffordshire (where the pan was found) by a soldier serving at those forts.
A 'patera' or handled pan, known as 'The Staffordshire Pan', cast in copper alloy with elaborate enamelled decoration and a Latin inscription below the rim. The body of the vessel is convex and c.2mm thick, and the slightly out-turned rim has a round ...more
A 'patera' or handled pan, known as 'The Staffordshire Pan', cast in copper alloy with elaborate enamelled decoration and a Latin inscription below the rim. The body of the vessel is convex and c.2mm thick, and the slightly out-turned rim has a rounded edge, with an external diameter of 89.5mm. There is a diagonal foot-ring with a diameter of 54mm and an internal ledge cast at c.1mm from the base edge, onto which the missing base would have been soldered. Traces of the solder survive on this ledge. The handle is now missing, but judging from other finds it is likely to have been flat and bow-tie shaped and also inlaid with coloured enamel. There are the remains of the solder used to affix the handle on the upper body just below the rim (the soldering scar is c.70mm long). The body of the vessel is decorated with 'Celtic-style' motifs consisting of a curvilinear scrollwork design made up of eight roundels in turquoise and blue enamel enclosing swirling six-armed whirligigs which are inlaid with alternating yellow, red and possibly purple enamel. The whirligigs are made up of three 'leaf-shaped' motifs inlaid with yellow enamel, alternating with larger, curving motifs, one edge of which is 'feathered', and inlaid with red and possibly purple enamel. The areas between the roundels are infilled with triangular motifs inlaid with either red or turquoise enamel. Along the lower edge, these motifs are in alternating red and turquoise enamel, with the turquoise enamel being very well preserved and the red less so. Along the upper edge, the eight motifs are more elaborate with a central copper-alloy extension terminating in a curving, rounded lobe. In each of these motifs, the upper edge to the left of centre has three or four notches cut out in a diagonal line and they are inlaid with turquoise in five of the motifs, there is a slight trace of red in one and no enamel surviving in two of the motifs. A great deal of the enamel survives and the vessel is in a fine condition. Just below the rim is an engraved Latin inscription which runs around the pan in an unbroken sequence. It reads, 'MAISCOGGABATUXELODUNUMCAMMOGLANNARIGOREVALIAELIDRACONIS'. This is a list of four forts located at the western end of Hadrian's Wall; Bowness (MAIS), Drumburgh (COGGABATA), Stanwix (UXELODUNUM) and Castlesteads (CAMMOGLANNA). it incorporates the name of an individual, AELIUS DRACO and a further place-name, RIGOREVALI. 'Rigorevali' may be transcribed as 'On the line of the Wall' (Guy de la Beydoyere; Tomlin 2004). 'Aelius Draco' could be the name of the manufacturer/craftsman, or the client for whom the pan was made. 'Draco' is an uncommon Greek name and may suggest that he or his family originated in the Greek-speaking part of the eastern Roman Empire. If the pan was made for Draco, he is likely to have served in the army and perhaps he was a veteran of a garrison of Hadrian's Wall and on retirement had this vessel made to recall his time in the army. There is some damage to the rim which has been pushed in, with a tear at the junction of the trim and upper body. The walls of the vessel are very thin, and traces of turquoise enamel are visible from the interior in the lower body. There are also two holes in the plain panel between the base and the enamelled freize. Otherwise, depite the loss of the base and handle, the vessel is in a remarkable condition and it is unusual that the enamel is so well preserved. Only two other vessels with inscriptions naming forts on Hadrian's Wall are known; the 'Rudge Cup' which was discovered in Wiltshire in 1725 (Horsley 1732; Henig 1995) and the 'Amiens patera' found in Amiens in 1949 (Heurgon 1951). Between them they name seven forts, but the Staffordshire patera is the first to include Drumburgh and is the only example to name an individual. All three are likely to be souvenirs of Hadrian's Wall, although why they include forts on the western end of the Wall only is unclear. less