Tyne and Wear HER(12352): Wallsend, Roman folding spoon - Details
Wallsend, Roman folding spoon
Food Preparation and Consumption
Food Preparation Equipment
Remains of a Roman folding spoon were found in a gully in a field system north of Hadrian's Wall and just west of Segedunum Fort during excavations by Tyne and Wear Museums in 1993. The bowl and handle were found with pottery dated to the second half of the third century AD. The object is on display at Segedunum Roman Fort Museum (small-find number WS CA520). The spoon is made of bronze with traces of tinning and a corroded iron rivet which has fixed the bowl of the spoon in its folded position. It was of purse or fiddle shape. It measures 42mm x 26mm. The handle is 65mm in length and 5mm wide and is cast in the form of a crouching lion, its forelegs outstretched to hold the end of the bowl. Its moulded tail has a trilobed finial. The spoon would have been hinged to a number of other implements, probably a knife and a spike, held together by a rivet. Folding spoons were eating implements. The accompanying spike was used for extracting meat from shellfish. Other known examples of folding spoons (Richborough, Chepstow, Snakeoak villa, Traprain Law, Hockwold-cum-Wilton, London, Wroxeter, Kirkby Thore, Cambridge, Chesters Roman Fort, Colchester, Ely, Cologne are silver and had six or seven attachments (including a sieve and fork). They are the Roman equivalent of a 'Swiss army knife', made for travelling.
David Sherlock, 2007, A Roman Folding Spoon from Wallsend, Archaeologia Aeliana, Series 5, Vol. XXXVI, pages 363-365