A stunning statuette of the Roman goddess Minerva, which has been found to date back 2,000 years, has been rediscovered again after more than a decade of sitting inside of a margarine tub.
According to the Guardian, the Minerva statuette was originally discovered very close to Hailey in Oxfordshire by a detectorist and was believed to be nothing but a mere imitation of Roman art. Because of this, the owner of the land where the statuette had been found deposited Minerva into an empty tub of margarine more than a decade ago and promptly forgot about it.
This all changed after Len Jackman visited the property in Oxfordshire and asked the owner for permission to search his land for historical treasures and artifacts, after which Jackman was shown the 2,000-year-old statuette of Minerva. As Jackman explained, he felt immediately that the statuette “looked important and old.”
After discovering further artifacts on the property, Jackman and the owner of the property agreed that Minerva was most likely an ancient relic and swiftly took it to Anni Byard, the local finds liaison officer in Oxfordshire.
When Byard looked at the tub of margarine she wasn’t quite sure what to expect and was shocked to see the Minerva statuette sitting inside.
“The objects had been left for me on my desk and I picked up the tub and assumed it might be a piece of lead it was so heavy. I unwrapped the tissue paper and it was just ‘wow’. A fantastic moment. I knew straight away that it was Roman and it is not something you normally see. It’s the first statue of this size I’ve seen in 10 years of doing my job.”
The statuette of Minerva was constructed out of lead and copper-alloy and was dated back to between the 1st and 2nd century AD. It is believed that at one point she would have been placed on a Roman shrine, and while her head has fallen off her body, archaeologists note that even finding her head alone would be amazing, let alone the entire body and head, whether detached or not.
The British Museum’s Michael Lewis believes that it would certainly make a charming new addition to any museum that happens to acquire it.
“It is such an amazing object and it could make an amazing object for a museum collection if that’s what happens to it.”
Along with the discovery of the 2,000-year-old Minerva statuette in Oxfordshire, the British Museum has stated that since 1996, 1,267 ancient artifacts have been found by detectorists across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.