Computer reconstruction puts pieces of 1,500-year-old plate back together

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ARCHAEOLOGISTS have digitally reconstructed a Roman plate based on two original fragments which are thought to have been buried at a hill in Scotland more than 1,500 years ago.

The pieces of the plate, both from the rim, were found with a hoard of Roman hacksilver at Traprain Law, near Haddington in East Lothian, in 1919.

A research team used laser scanning to make what they believe is an accurate, full-size reconstruction of the dish, based on the curve and appearance of the surviving fragments.

With a 70cm diameter, it is believed to be one of the largest known dishes from the Roman Empire, and would have been a “high status” object.

The reconstruction for National Museums Scotland was undertaken as part of the Glenmorangie Research Project, supporting the study and understanding of early medieval Scotland.

Alice Blackwell, Glenmorangie research officer at National Museums Scotland, said: “The silver fragments are highly decorative and, combined with what we now know about the plate’s size, this plate could only have been a high-status object, fit for senators and the Roman elite.

“We are thrilled that the digital reconstruction has provided us with such a unique insight into the contents of this treasure hoard.

“Now, thanks to the support of Glenmorangie, we can build on our knowledge of Scotland’s early history and the enduring importance of silver in Scotland’s past.”