Silver penis pendant declared treasure

A silver penis pendant, described as a find of national significance, was declared to be treasure at an inquest on 26 May 2022. It was found by detectorist Wendy Thompson on New Year’s Eve 2020 on a farm in Higham, near Gravesend, Kent. It was recorded at the PAS as PUBLIC-E168F3.

Phallic imagery was common in Roman life, being used both by soldiers and given to children to protect them; Pliny attributed the phallus to the embodiment of Fascinus, the guardian of infants and generals. This has led to the belied that the pendant is Roman. Although a large number of Roman phallic objects have been found in Britain only one other is made of silver, hence the importance of this find.

Wendy described the find “It was only a tiny thing really. We were just as normal, covering a field up and down with a metal detector. I turned over this spade of earth and there it was, about eight inches down, I guess.

The pendant will now continue through the treasure process. Wendy and the landowner will split any proceeds but Wendy says ‘I’m not after the money but it is nice to see it sold for its value. I don’t find things because they are valuable, it’s because of the history and you know that somebody once had that object. It’s magical really.

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