Silver seal matrix declared treasure at inquest in Norwich

A post-medieval silver seal matrix, which has been declared to be treasure at Norfolk Coroner's Cour

A post-medieval silver seal matrix, which has been declared to be treasure at Norfolk Coroner's Court. Image: Supplied by Norfolk Coroner's Court - Credit: Archant

A silver seal matrix engraved with the head of an African man has been declared treasure.

Yvonne Blake, area coroner, made the ruling at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Thursday.

She said the “post-medieval” object was found on March 24, 2019 by Barry Hutchinson, on land owned by J Hope.

The location of the discovery was not disclosed.

The 17th century object would have been used impression on a wax seal, which would have both authenticated a letter or document and kept it closed. It has an octagonal face, rising to a canonical handle. The man’s head is facing left and appears to be wearing drapery.


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Ms Blake said a similar object had been found in Shropshire. She said the item seemed strange to the “modern eye”, but fitted in with that time period, when slave ownership was legal and there was a concept of the “noble savage”.

Ms Blake said a report on the item had been prepared by the British Museum.

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She said: “I am content that the item is treasure and that will be the conclusion of this court.”

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