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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 September, 2003, 06:43 GMT 07:43 UK
Roman souvenir of wall found
A unique Roman "souvenir" of the building of Hadrian's Wall has been discovered.

The bronze Roman pan
The bronze pan has the names of Roman forts on it
The bronze pan, dating from the second century AD, when the Romans built the dividing wall across the north of England, was found in the Staffordshire moorlands.

Archaeologists are excited because the names of four forts located at the western end of Hadrian's Wall - Bowes, Drumburgh, Stanwix and Castlesteads - are engraved on the vessel.

The discovery was being made public at the Institute of Archaeology in London by the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), an organisation which records archaeological objects found by members of the public.

Until the discovery of this pan, only two other examples were known with inscriptions naming forts on Hadrian's Wall - the Rudge Cup, discovered in Wiltshire in 1725, and the Amiens Patera, found in Amiens in France in 1949.

Between them they name seven forts, but the present pan is the first to include Drumburgh. It also has the inscription of a person's name on it.

Hadrian's Wall
The wall runs from the west of Cumbria to Wallsend
Sally Worrell, Roman expert for the PAS, said the name, Aelius Draco, was "perhaps a veteran of a garrison of Hadrian's Wall", who had the vessel made on retirement.

She said: "This is an absolutely wonderful find - the most important Roman object recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme."

Elaborately decorated with Celtic-style motifs, the vessel is inlaid with coloured enamel.

It is hoped the find will go on display at the British Museum as part of a special exhibition opening in November, called Buried Treasure: Finding Our Past.

Earlier this year, a coast-to-coast walk route was launched, which opened up the entire length of the wall to walkers for the first time in 1,600 years.

Thousands of people have taken advantage of the 84-mile (135 kilometres) walk from Wallsend on Tyneside to Bowness in Cumbria, since it was opened to the public in May.

Roman trail re-opens
23 May 03  |  Cumbria
Walking the wall
23 May 03  |  England
Hadrian's Wall: Roman power symbol
23 May 03  |  England

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