Rare glass fragment found at Chedworth Roman Villa

Peter Moore examing the fragment

The first of its kind, a rare fragment of fish-shaped glass was found during an archaeological dig in 2017 at Chedworth Roman Villa.

An exciting discovery

During the six year long excavation, an archaeologist uncovered a rare piece of glass which is estimated to be around 1,800 years old and imported from what is now Ukraine. The only one of its kind discovered in Britain, the piece of blue green glass has an unusual fish scale pattern and is hugely exciting in understanding the status of the villa and its occupants. 

A rare fragment of roman fish-shaped glass
A rare fragment of roman fish-shaped glass
A rare fragment of roman fish-shaped glass

One of a kind

Whilst the glass was first discovered in 2017, due to its rarity it has taken until now to identify the type of bottle it came from. Specialists from across the world have studied the fragment and after years of research, a match was found in the Corning Museum of Glass, New York. Following comparisions between the two examples, experts were able to identify the piece as coming from the 'tail' end of a fish-shaped bottle. It was likely a small flask with the fish's mouth forming the opening of the vessel. 

An artist's impression of the complete fish-shaped bottle
An artist's impression of the complete fish-shaped bottle
An artist's impression of the complete fish-shaped bottle

A significant find

The find sheds new light on the wealth and influence of those who imported the bottle from the Black Sea area, and the sigificance of Chedworth Roman Villa in Roman Britain. Whilst the exact contents of the bottle are unknown, the unusual techniques used in creating this item, as well as the distance it travelled, all suggests that the occupants of the villa were in touch with the furthest regions of the Roman Empire and wanted to show off that influence. 

The fragment is on display thoughout the summer.