Traces of Empire

Oct 14 2014

Museums Sheffield’s Curator of Archaeology Helen Harman on a new display at Weston Park exploring Sheffield’s link with the Roman Empire.

Our latest display at Weston Park aims to give visitors a glimpse into Sheffield’s Roman past. Traces of Empire: Decoration and Design in Roman Britain brings together a range of objects to explore how the Romans influenced and exchanged ideas, techniques and materials from across the Empire with the people of Britain before, during and after the Roman invasion of Britain.

Roman silver braceletsTraces of Empire looks at how studying archaeological objects and, importantly, where they were found in the landscape, can help unlock a wealth of stories about what life might have been like for the people of the region during the time of Roman occupation.

The display, which has been funded through the Art Fund’s Treasure Plus scheme, focuses on objects that were created and used in the Iron Age and Roman period, in particular items that might have been made locally or that might have travelled across the Roman Empire to Sheffield. What makes these objects even more remarkable is that nearly all of them have been found either by chance or by metal detector and in the display you can find out more about these discoveries of ‘treasure’.

Sheffield’s archaeology collection is amazingly diverse and it’s wonderful to feature some its real gems in the display. Amongst the objects you’ll see are a 1st century Torc (a decorative neck ring) found in Dinnington, a Roman coin hoard discovered in High Green and a pair of silver bracelets unearthed in Derbyshire. The display also features discoveries made in Lower Walkley and Wincobank through to areas in North East Derbyshire and the Peak District, so come along and see what might have been found close to where you live.

One of our main aims throughout the research and development of this project has been to make more of the collection accessible and offer a better understanding of the archaeological material cared for by Museums Sheffield. As such, almost all of the objects on display have been added to the Museum Sheffield online collection database so you can find out more about them.

The Oughtibridge HoardWe’ll also be offering a range of opportunities to get hands-on object from the collection in our Roman Discovery Days on 30 October and 17 February, and a chance to find out more about your own discoveries in our Archaeology Finds Afternoons on 25 November and 5 February – do pop in and show us what you’ve found.

Traces of Empire: Decoration and Design in Roman Britain contnues at Weston Park until autum 2015 - entry to the museum is free.


Top - Dinnington Torc, 1st century, copper alloy, found in 1984 © Museums Sheffield
Middle - Roman Silver Bracelets, 2nd-3rd century AD, found in Carlswark Cavern, Derbys. in 1866
Bottom - The Oughtibridge Hoard, five denarii coins found in Oughtibridge in1931

The Traces of Empire display was made possible with support from the Art Fund and Headley Trust.

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