The Winterton Pan

Rose Nicholson, Heritage Manager

The Winterton Pan is a Roman enamelled copper alloy cup with the base missing. One side of the Pan has sustained some damage, where the rim has been pushed in by a plough blade. The body of the Pan features rows of enamelled square decoration. Though not all the enamel has survived a pattern is evident. The same four colours repeat in diagonal lines throughout the design.

The Pan is an example of the Romano-British tradition of producing enamelled vessels. This technique was a survival of Celtic tradition into the Roman period. It was unique within the Roman Empire.

The Winterton Pan.

The Winterton Pan is one of a small group of enamelled vessels thought to have been produced by craftsmen as soldier’s souvenirs from Hadrian’s Wall. Only a handful of these 2nd and 3rd century enamelled vessels have been found. One group of such souvenirs, including the Rudge Cup and the Staffordshire Moorlands Pan, feature inscriptions listing forts along Hadrian’s Wall.  The Winterton Cup fits within the second group of such souvenirs. This group show a simplified image of the Wall without any inscriptions. Rows of enamel squares evoke the stretches of wall faced with large rectangular cut blocks of stone between the turrets of Hadrian’s Wall.

It is not surprising that the Pan was discovered where it was. Winterton is an area rich in evidence for Roman occupation. Archaeologists have discovered pottery kilns, settlements, and burials. The famous Winterton Villa was first investigated in 1747. In 1797 William Fowler created his famous engravings of the Villa’s mosaics. Archaeologists excavated the Villa site between the 1950s and 1980s. Excavations uncovered several buildings, field systems and very fine mosaic pavements. The villa may once have belonged to a rich native Briton and his family. It may have later passed into the hands of a retired army officer engaged in farming.

The burial known as the Winterton Lady was discovered not far from the villa site in 1968. The Winterton Lady had been buried in a lead lined limestone coffin. This suggests she was of high status, and it is likely she lived at Winterton Villa.

The Winterton Lady was buried in a stone coffin lined with lead sheets.
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