See this lovely thing? It’s quite small – 47mm high and 94mm in diameter – but simply glorious. The colours are vivid shades of red, blue, turquoise and yellow, enamelled in a swirling native ‘celtic’ design of roundels, petals, and what the British Museum cutely call, ‘whirligigs’. The metal encasing the enamel is a copper alloy, so it would originally have been a lustrous reddish-gold shade. It’s actually more like a pan than a bowl as it would originally have had a dinky bow-shaped handle. And it’s about 1850 years old.
It was found by a metal detectorist in Staffordshire in 2003, but experts believe that it was made here in Cumbria as a very early visitor souvenir. The writing near the rim is in Latin and says,