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Intact Roman lantern discovered in Britain

Sept. 3, 2010 at 8:44 PM   |   Comments

IPSWICH, England, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- A British man using a metal detector has found what is thought to be the only intact Roman bass lantern ever found in Britain, authorities say.

Danny Mills, 21, made the discovery last autumn in a field in Suffolk, an area dotted with Roman villas and country estates back in the second century, the BBC reported.

The rare example of Roman craftsmanship was donated to the Ipswich Museum.

"It turned out to be the only complete example of a Roman lantern found in Britain," a museum spokeswoman said.

"Only fragments of similar lanterns are held in the British Museum and the closest complete example is from the famous Roman site of Pompeii."

Mills said it the better part of an hour to dig up the archaeological treasure.

"It was an amazing feeling," Mills said of his discovery. "It took a while to dig down to see anything and once we found it, we had to go really carefully around it to get it out of the ground."

"I looked it up on the Internet on my phone and matched it up with some others from Pompeii."

The lantern is similar to a modern hurricane lamp and a thin sheet of horn, scraped thin until it was translucent, would have protected the naked flame.

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