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Very rare Roman millefiori bowl found in East London (Great Britain)
may 5th, 2009

Excavating London is always a great adventure that brings to the light beautyful treasuries. This is time of a very rare, close to be unique for its completeness, roman glass flat bowl made with the "millefiori" technique. "Millefiori" in italian means "one thousand flowers" and is a glass working technique using glass rods with multi-coloured patterns that are only visible at the cut ends like a stick of rock. In this example the dish includes hundreds of translucent blue indented glass petals, bordered with white embedded in a bright red glass background.
This beautiful translucent dish belonged to a wealthy East Londoner living in Roman Britain 1,700 years ago.
The dish found in London on Prescot Street, Aldgate, is thought to be the first find of its kind in the western Roman empire. Other examples were found in the past in Egypt

The dish will go on display at the Museum of London in Docklands

The dish was found in the grave of the Roman East Londoner whose cremated remains were uncovered, probably buried in a wooden container, in a cemetery in Londinium's eastern quarter. A number of other ceramic and glass vessels were also ranged along the sides of the casket, suggesting a rich and unusual burial. "Piecing together and conserving such a complete artefact offered a rare and thrilling challenge - said Liz Goodman, Museum of London archaeology conservator - We occasionally get tiny fragments of millefiori, but the opportunity to work on a whole artefact of this nature is extraordinary. The dish is extremely fragile but the glasswork is intact and illuminates beautifully nearly two millennia after being crafted.'
Guy Hunt, director of the firm L-P:Archaeology, said: 'The dig at Prescot Street produced an amazing range of Roman cemetery archaeology. It is fantastic for us that one of the many finds is such an exciting and beautiful object. It is great to be able to put an object such as this into context and to get a first-hand impression of a rather wealthy East Londoner.'

From Google Street view (please note the image could be update by Google and could not show anymore the excavations):

Click to enlarge

From Google Maps:

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