Dr Peter Crawford & Dr Raoul McLaughlin investigated the probable origins of a hoard of Roman silver objects found near Coleraine
The Classical Association in Northern Ireland’s inaugural summer lecture on the ‘Coleraine Hoard’ attracted an enthusiastic crowd on a fine summer evening at Queen’s University.
In a lavishly illustrated joint presentation, Drs Peter Crawford and Raoul McLaughlin took listeners through the history of the discovery of one of Ireland’s most enigmatic hoards of late Roman coinage and hack-silver. The peoples of Ireland and Britain were vividly evoked and the historic traffic of ideas, artefacts and culture between the islands carefully explained. With the very recent finds of Roman rings at Murlough in Dundrum Bay, Roman treasure in Ireland is hot news and the speakers expertly fielded splendid questions from the audience.
The lecture is heading next to the home of the hoard and The Coleraine Historical Society and then on into schools in Northern Ireland. The fate of the hoard itself, now scattered in Belfast and London, prompted the admirable idea of calling for its repatriation in the Ulster Museum.
Watch this space!
Dr J. R. Curran
Associate Director (undergraduate affairs)
The Institute of Theology
Queen’s University Belfast
EXTRACT FROM THE PRESENTATION
“The old, overworked statement that, ‘The Romans never came to Ireland’ no longer represents a widely-held view. If the Irish could raid and trade in Britain, then the Romans could, and did, cross to Ireland. Archaeological finds, including a silver hoard unearthed by a farm labourer near Coleraine in 1854, have taken the discussion of Romano-Irish relations beyond just “trade and raid” into a consideration of more intricate and sophisticated social and political interactions. These include army recruitment, the movement of migrants and even Irish settlements on Roman land”.
THE STORY OF THE COLERAINE HOARD SUGGESTS THAT IRELAND WAS A LOT MORE ‘ROMAN’ THAN HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED