It is one of the most important artifacts from early Christianity in Europe and the only one from this period found in Great Britain.
A peculiar Christian chalice from the 5th century was discovered in the ancient Roman fort of Vindolanda near Hadrian's Wall (UK).
The 14 fragments of the cup, made of lead, were found under the remains of a church, dating from the 5th or 6th century, during an excavation.
'This is a really exciting find from a little understood period in British history. Its apparent connections to the early Christian church are incredibly important, and this curious vessel is unique in the British context, ”explained David Petts of Durham University, who is leading the research on the artifact.
The chalice has on its surface symbols of crosses, angels, a fish, a whale, ships, and inscriptions in Latin and Greek.
All of this makes it one of the most important artifacts of early Christianity in Europe and the only one from this period found in Britain.
Andrew Birley, director of the Vindolanda excavations, confessed that these ruins always surprise with different revelations, in this case that of the chalice.
«Its discovery helps us appreciate how the Vindolanda site and its community survived beyond the fall of Rome and yet remained connected to a spiritual successor in the form of Christianity that, in many ways, was as broad and transformative as what had come before«.
The chalice can now be seen in the new exhibition at the Vindolanda museum which is open to the public from August 31st.