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The barbarian treasure of Rülzheim

The Late Roman hoard find from Rülzheim, discovered in 2013 through an illegal excavation, includes not only Late Antique silver tableware and robe applications, but also a unique silver folding chair.

  • Runtime: 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2018
  • Partner: Generaldirektion kulturelles Erbe Rheinland-Pfalz

Investigations on the so-called Barbarian Treasure of Rülzheim

The Late Roman hoard find from Rülzheim, discovered in 2013 through an illegal excavation, includes not only Late Antique silver tableware and robe applications, but also a unique silver folding chair. The branch office of the Directorate General for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate in Speyer had commissioned CEZA 2018 to investigate the folding chair.

Participants: Dr. U. Himmelmann

Report

General view of the folding chair from Rülzheim

For the folding chair itself, relatively pure silver with only one percent copper was used, whose increased hardness (50 – 60 HV 0.1) is mainly due to the fine grain (G=30 μm) and the embrittlement caused by intercrystalline corrosion typical of old silver. The feet of the chair were fixed with a lead-rich soft solder whose lead isotope signature corresponds to the soft solder from the handle of a silver pot from Trier, which was also analysed at CEZA.

The closest lead isotopic similarities for both solders are found in the postvaristic lead-silver deposits of the Eifel, which connects both objects and makes a production or repair in the vicinity of the imperial city of Trier conceivable. The lead isotope ratios of the silver are different and do not find a direct correspondence in known deposits.