Roman Glass (Colchester)
Colchester Museums hold one of the most significant collections of Roman glass in Western Europe.
While visitors can marvel at items from this prestigious collection at Colchester Castle Museum, hundreds of pieces remain in storage. These objects are invaluable resources for researchers across the United Kingdom and stand as evidence of Britain’s important place in the Roman Empire.
During October the Collections and Learning team at Colchester Museums embarked on a project to ensure this significant collection is documented and photographed. The aim is to increase the accessibility of the collection for researchers and the wider public.
When all objects are documented and photographed, our curators will be able to easily identify items of relevance and make use of collections in any future engagement programs. If a collection is not documented correctly it is difficult to have a comprehensive view of what we have available. Once we gain this comprehensive view the sky is the limit!
Where was it found?
The majority of the Colchester collection was found locally through excavations in the 1930s at the Camulodunum site at Sheepen, as well as more recent discoveries in the 1970s by the Colchester Archaeological Trust.
Both periods of excavation are well documented in Hawkes and Hull’s 1947 Camulodunum and Dr Hilary Cool and Dr Jennifer Price’s 1995 report on Colchester Archaeological Trust’s excavations from 1971 to 1985. A copy of the 1995 report can be found via the trust’s website.
What are some of the collection highlights?
One of the most striking examples of Roman glass currently on display is a Globular blue green vessel (pictured below) containing cremated human remains. This vessel, dated to approx. AD 100, was used as an urn and placed within a tomb. You can view this object and a number of other examples on level 1 of Colchester Castle.