Ancient Roman god figure discovered – and it’s the 1,000th find by local history hunters this year

Rebecca Griffiths of York Museums Trust with the copper allow figurine of Mercury. Photographs: Richard McDougall
1 Jun 2015 @ 5.03 pm
| History

Rebecca Griffiths of York Museums Trust with the copper allow figurine of Mercury. Photographs: Richard McDougall
Rebecca Griffiths of York Museums Trust with the copper alloy figurine of Mercury. Photographs: Richard McDougall
Move over Indiana Jones. The swashbuckling archaeologist only ever made one or two discoveries per movie as we recall.

His record is put to shame by our local history hunters. Contributors to the North and East Yorkshire Portable Antiquities Scheme have just notched up their 1,000th discovery this year.

And he is quite a discovery – a 2,000-year-old figurine of the Roman god Mercury.

Fashioned from a copper alloy, the figure of the god of merchants and travellers was found by Dave Cooper, member of the York and District Metal Detecting Club, in a field near Selby.

Small but significant – another fantastic find
Small but significant – another fantastic find

Rebecca Griffiths, portable antiquities finds officer at York Museums Trust, said thousands of archaeological objects were discovered by members of the public every year.

While the majority of these come from metal-detector users we also see many finds from people field-walking, gardening, renovating houses and even those out walking particularly inquisitive dogs!

Due to the quantity and quality of these finds it was realised that, if properly recorded, these discoveries could provide an important source of material with the potential to transform our understanding of the past.

Close up views of the discover. Photograph © Portable Antiquities Scheme
Close up views of the discover. Photograph © Portable Antiquities Scheme

Each year Rebecca and a small team of volunteers add more than 2,000 new artefacts to the database.

These range from Roman coins to medieval buckles, stone tools to post-medieval toys and pretty much everything in-between.

– Rebecca Griffiths

The Yorkshire Museum has acquired a number of items that have been found by members of the public, many of which are currently on display. These include the Bedale Hoard, the Escrick Ring and the silver Stillingfleet boar badge of Richard III.

The Richard III boar badge, now in the Yorkshire Museum
The Richard III boar badge, now in the Yorkshire Museum

Yorkshire Museum, 10am-1pm

Friday, June 5

Friday, August 7

Friday, October 2

Friday, December 4

Email Rebecca

Although the 1000th find has not been acquired by a museum, the full record can be viewed here.

Found an archaeological object that you would like to find out more about? Then come along to one of the portable antiquities scheme finds days – see panel for dates.