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Gordon Campbell

Treasure hoard consisting of more than 15,000 coins (both gold and silver), gold jewellery, and silver tableware, mainly from the 4th century AD, found in 1992 at Hoxne (pronounced ‘Hoxon’), in Suffolk, and now in the British Museum, London. The latest datable coins in the hoard were minted in AD 407/8, so the treasure must have been buried in the closing years of the Roman period, early in the 5th century. The treasure seems to have been buried in a wooden chest and small caskets, for which small silver padlocks survive. The jewellery consists of a necklace, a body-chain, finger rings, and bracelets. The silverware consists of some 100 spoons and ladles; the only indication of the larger pieces that must have been part of the collection (like the plates in the Mildenhall Treasure) is a silver handle (in the shape of a female tiger) that must have been one of a pair attached to a large vessel such as a silver amphora or vase....


In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....