ARDAGH CHALICE: A large, two-handled silver cup decorated with gold, gilt bronze, and enamel, that is one of the finest examples of early Christian art from the British Isles. Discovered in 1868, along with a small bronze cup and four brooches in a potato field in Ardagh, Ireland, the chalice may have been part of the buried loot from a monastery after an Irish or Viking raid. The outside of the bowl is engraved with the Latin names of some of the Apostles. There are similarities between the letters of the inscription and some of the large initials in the Lindisfarne Gospels, which probably dates from about ad 710 to 720. Thus, the Ardagh Chalice is thought to date from the first half of the 8th century. The chalice displays exceptional artistic and technical skills applied to a variety of precious materials. So far, its manufacture has not been attributed to a particular workshop but the chalice does have similarities to the celebrated Tara brooch and the Moylough belt-reliquary. It is now housed in the National Museum of Ireland at Dublin.