Object: Replica of Roman bowl

C/58-9/1/1
Replica of Roman bowl
20th century
Materials: Silver

In 1958 this silver bowl was brought to the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, then called the Stovall Museum. The bowl was purchased, along with other objects, from the Chicago Natural History Museum, now called the Field Museum. The bowl is a replica of a part of the Hildesheim Treasure found in Hildesheim, Germany.

The Hildesheim Treasure was an extremely large collection of some 50 pieces of Roman silver found in 1868. The Hildesheim Treasure is believed to date back to the early 1st century C.E. but no accurate date can be given. The Hildesheim Treasure was discovered when Prussian soldiers in Germany were digging a hole and came across the treasure packed carefully in a chest. It is believed that the Hildesheim Treasure originally belonged to a traveling Roman general in Germany who buried the treasure so it would not be found by the German tribes. It is possible that not all the pieces of the Hildesheim Treasure are Roman since many scholars consider some artifacts to be Greek. The original Hildesheim Treasure is held in Berlin but reproductions of the Hildesheim Treasure have been manufactured and placed in museums all over the world.

This bowl, currently housed in the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History is a replica of one of the most famous piece from the Hildesheim treasure collection. The image on the bowl is of Minerva, shown in high relief, draped in gold with an owl (usually associated with her) on the left; she is gazing to the right. Minerva was the Roman equivalent to the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, Athena.

Reproductions are an important part of collections because they allow experts from around the world to study the objects without the originals being damaged. Replicas also allow researchers to study concurrently without having to transport the originals all over the world. [Susan Lemmond]

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Ethnology @ SNOMNH is an experimental weblog for sharing the collections of the Division of Ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

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