Incredible treasure trove of Roman treasures discovered by amateur metal detectors in Ryedale to be auctioned Yorkshire News

An incredible hoard of Roman-era treasures found in a field in Ryedale has first come into public view before being auctioned.

The bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius
The bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius

Amateur metal detectors James Spark, 40, and Mark Didlick, 44, found the 2,000-year-old collection, believed to have been buried as part of a Roman religious ceremony in 160 AD.

The artifacts include a bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who was a character in the movie Gladiator.

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The entire treasure has been valued at £ 90,000 and will be auctioned next month at a London auction house.

The handle of the horse head knife

It has been called the Ryedale Rital Bronzes, and also includes a statue of the god Mars, a knife handle in the shape of a horse’s head, and a large bronze pendulum.

The relics will be available to view by appointment in the Hansons Auctioneers showroom beginning the Friday before the sale on May 20.

Spark and Didlick officially reported their findings by turning them over to the York Museums Trust, and they were later declared treasures in a coronary investigation and passed on to the government’s Portable Antiquities Plan for record.

Hanson expert Adam Staples said: “The artifact hoard was likely buried as a religious offering that marked the closure of a rural shrine or the death of a priest.

The finds were described as in excellent condition.

“The artifacts would have formed a set of ritual implements, to be used when performing religious ceremonies and to predict the future.”

Marcus Aurelius became emperor in March 161 AD and his 19-year reign was one of relative peace and prosperity for Rome.

However, in AD 165, troops returning from Mesopotamia brought with them a virus that spread throughout the Empire: the Antonine plague.

Now believed to be a smallpox outbreak, this ancient pandemic devastated the Roman population, with an estimated 10 percent of the population succumbing to it.

Staples added: “He (the bust) is very fortunate that it was not broken for the 1,850 years it spent underground. The bust has survived extremely well and is in very good condition with a bright green patina.

“This is a very rare opportunity to own a group of artifacts of national importance.”

Tours will also be available in York on May 11. To book please email

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This notice was published: 2021-04-27 15:00:05