Touted as one of the significant discoveries made in Somerset’s recent history, Jason Massey, an amateur detectorist, came across an ancient Roman signet ring made of gold. Interestingly enough, the discovery was made at the very site (at a field near Crewkerne) where Mr. Massey and his friends found a Roman grave with a lead coffin and 250 coins in last year’s November.
Now while researchers at the British Museum are yet to make a detailed analysis of the object, the signet ring is presumed to date from circa 200 – 300 AD, thus making it over 1,700-years old. Also, the conspicuous engraving on the front-end onyx of the 48 g (1.7 ounces) ring is believed to be that of Victoria – the Roman deity who personified victory.
It should be noted that Mr. Massey also discovered over 60 Roman coins from the site on 29th July before identifying the Roman signet ring (which he initially thought was his first discovery of a Roman gold coin). However, beyond the scope of coins and rings, the detectorists believes that this particular area was home to a ritzy Roman villa. He said –
There’s a load of figures floating about [for the value of the ring] but we’re interested in the villa, who’s lived there and where they’ve come from and who the person was that wore this ring.
Ciorstaidh Hayward-Trevarthen from the South West Heritage Trust also indicated the possibility of a larger Roman presence in the area that comprised wealthy inhabitants. This is mainly due to the fact that finding such an exquisite Roman signet ring specimen is pretty rare, with only two previous examples being recorded from the region of Somerset, England.