Ancient object identified after remaining a mystery for nearly 150 years

Experts have finally managed to shed a light on the origins of this ancient and mysterious golden relic which has baffled archaeologists for more than a century.

The small, flat golden plate was unearthed at a grave site with a female skeleton and coin beneath York Station in 1872.

But after nearly 150 years, the team at the Yorkshire Museum, working with experts from around the globe, have confirmed it is a Roman mouth plaque dating back to the third century.

Yorkshire Museum’s Assistant Curator of Archaeology Adam Parker holds a third century golden ‘mouth plaque’ (Danny Lawson/PA)

The 1,800-year-old plaque is the only example of its kind in Britain – and is one only 23 discovered worldwide.

The plaque would be used to cover the mouth of a dead body, and experts said it would usually be used by a person of high status.

But mystery still surrounds how and why it was used, with theories including it being a magical or medicinal amulet to protect the person in death, or a sinister talisman to silence or restrain them.

- Press Association

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