Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Another Lydney Dog?

So, my forthcoming piece on The Great God Nodens*  includes a section about one among the many mysteries associated with the site of his Temple: lots of dogs, including what's been called the best Roman bronze found in Britain.** Stone dogs, bronze dogs, ceramic dogs, even at least one depiction of a dog on pottery.

It's not surprising then that my attention was drawn to recent news from Gloucestershire, the county in which Noden's temple was found, about the discovery of a bronze dog, one already being associated w. the healing god Aesculapius.***


What's striking about this report is the secrecy involved. The actual site of the discovery is being kept secret --which suggests that they may think there's more there to be found. The artifacts themselves are not on display but are also being kept at a secret location. We may find out that the discovery was near the site of Noden's Temple, or elsewhere in the Forest of Dean, or somewhere near Gloucester. Time, and follow-up reports, will no doubt tell.

--John R.
current reading: ON EAGLES' WINGS by Anna Thayer

*(or, to be more precise, on the background to Tolkien's piece on Nodens)

**so dubbed by Mortimer Wheeler, who was given to grandiosity

***the idea being that the dog has his tongue out because it's been trained to lick people's wounds in order to promote healing


Clive Shergold said...

The secrecy surrounding the Roman finds is not unusual. However, the location is known - Bristol Museum & Art Gallery - and the special conditions of storage probably mean that they put it in the safe overnight rather than leaving it out on a table. As it is still being catalogued and photographed it will not be in a public area, in any case.
The secrecy around the find location is, alas, necessary regardless of whether there is more to find or not. There are a minority of detectorists, called nighthawkers, who disregard the laws of the land and the courtesies due to landowners, and who will attempt to locate and sell (illegally) any further finds without revealing their origin or sharing their profits.
The UK's Treasure Act 1996, which replaced the previous Common Law status of treasure trove, has encouraged most detectorists to play fair, gain the landowner's permission, disclose their finds and allow archaeologists to examine both find and context (as well as profit from the sale of the finds).

John D. Rateliff said...

Thanks for the update about its being safely stowed in Bristol.

I hadn't heard of the nighthawkers before but assumed there must be some such folks to be guarded against, given the precautions described by the piece.

Here's looking forward to (eventually) hearing what else they might find.

--John R.