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Early Christian Chalice Unearthed in Northern England

Monday, August 31, 2020

Vindolanda ChaliceNORTHUMBERLAND, ENGLAND—The Guardian reports that pieces of a fifth-century lead chalice, covered inside and out with Christian iconography, have been unearthed within a collapsed church structure at Vindolanda, a Roman fort located on Hadrian’s Wall in northern England. The images include crosses, angels, a smiling priestly figure holding a crook, fish, a whale, ships, and the chi-rho, a symbol made up of the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ. “It’s just remarkable,” said archaeologist Andrew Birley. “Nothing in northwestern Europe comes close from the period.” The chalice also bears letters written in Latin, Greek, and possibly Ogam, an early medieval script. Birley explained that the discovery helps scholars to understand how the people at Vindolanda lived after the fall of Rome. To read about new translations of the personal correspondence of Vindolanda's first commanding officer, go to "Commander's Orders."  

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