Uerdingen Hoard

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Uerdingen Hoard

Uerdingen hoard 1 (BM).JPG

Athlete's toilet set from the Uerdingen Hoard as displayed in the British Museum
Material Bronze and glass
Created 2nd-3rd century AD
Present location British Museum, London
Registration 1868,0105.46
The Uerdingen Hoard or Uerdingen Treasure is the name of an historically significant group of ancient objects found in a Roman grave in the town of Uerdingen, western Germany. Discovered in the middle of the nineteenth century, the entire hoard was donated to the British Museum in 1868. [1]


The six grave objects, which date to between the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries AD, were found in a stone coffin at Uerdingen near the city of Düsseldorf in North Rhine-Westphalia. The hoard later passed into the possession of the physician and collector Dr George Witt, who presented it to the British Museum in 1868 [2] along with other parts of his collection.

Düsseldorf Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Düsseldorf is the capital and second-largest city of the most populous German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia after Cologne, as well as the seventh-largest city in Germany. with a population of 617,280. At the confluence of the Rhine and its tributary Düssel, the city lies in the centre of both the Rhine-Ruhr and the Rhineland Metropolitan Regions with the Cologne Bonn region to its south and the Ruhr to its north. Most of the city lies on the right bank of the Rhine. The city is the largest in the German Low Franconian dialect area. "Dorf" meaning "village" in German, the "-dorf" suffix is unusual in the German-speaking area for a settlement of Düsseldorf's size.

North Rhine-Westphalia State in Germany

North Rhine-Westphalia is a state of Germany.

Physician professional who practices medicine

A physician, medical practitioner, medical doctor, or simply doctor, is a professional who practises medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining, or restoring health through the study, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. Physicians may focus their practice on certain disease categories, types of patients, and methods of treatment—known as specialities—or they may assume responsibility for the provision of continuing and comprehensive medical care to individuals, families, and communities—known as general practice. Medical practice properly requires both a detailed knowledge of the academic disciplines, such as anatomy and physiology, underlying diseases and their treatment—the science of medicine—and also a decent competence in its applied practice—the art or craft of medicine.



The type of objects found in the grave suggest that the deceased was probably male and from the upper echelons of Roman society. He seemed to be able to afford to be buried with fashionable and in some cases luxurious items. The most important part of the hoard is a well-preserved athlete's bronze toilet set for scraping and cleaning the skin, which consists of an aryballos and two strigils linked together by chains and a hoop for hanging on the wall. [2] There were also a glass handled patera and oinochoe decorated with polychrome serpentine designs, which would have been used for hand-washing between meals. Other items from the tomb include a cylindrical bronze pot and lid, a bronze razor and a small glass vessel coloured green.

Hoard Collection of valuable objects or artifacts

A hoard or "wealth deposit" is an archaeological term for a collection of valuable objects or artifacts, sometimes purposely buried in the ground, in which case it is sometimes also known as a cache. This would usually be with the intention of later recovery by the hoarder; hoarders sometimes died or were unable to return for other reasons before retrieving the hoard, and these surviving hoards might then be uncovered much later by metal detector hobbyists, members of the public, and archaeologists.


An aryballos was a small spherical or globular flask with a narrow neck used in Ancient Greece. It was used to contain perfume or oil, and is often depicted in vase paintings being used by athletes during bathing. In these depictions, the vessel is at times attached by a strap to the athlete's wrist, or hung by a strap from a peg on the wall.

<i>Patera</i> shallow libation bowl

In the material culture of classical antiquity, a phiale or patera is a shallow ceramic or metal libation bowl. It often has a bulbous indentation in the center underside to facilitate holding it, in which case it is sometimes called a mesomphalic phiale. It typically has no handles, and no feet. Although the two terms may be used interchangeably, particularly in the context of Etruscan culture, phiale is more common in reference to Greek forms, and patera in Roman settings.

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  1. British Museum Collection, retrieved 31 July 2014