Blic has the story … here’s the important bits:
Director of Archaeological Park Viminacium, Miomir Korac, has said for Tanjug while major excavation was taking place at the Roman amphitheatre site at Viminacium, a sculpture made of jade and of excellent craftsmanship was discovered.
“Only a few days ago we had the discovery of jade figurine more than 35 centimetres long, but this one, just like that first one, is unfortunately not complete. What is fascinating, though, is that it’s made out of one piece and of jade and that the craftsmanship is excellent. This points to the fact the workshop must have been at this very place,” said Korac.
Korac pointed out the latest sculpture shows signs of meticulous work of a master, but that the figurine’s head has not been preserved, neither has its lower torso. The archaeological digging is still under way and Korac hopes further finds at the site will reveal the identity of the master.
Korac says that near the site where the jade figurine was discovered in the amphitheatre, a bronze, gilded eagle was found, obviously once perched upon a two-wheeled cart. [...]
The article includes a photo:
… which I include so you can see that the subject matter is definitely Roman. Now I know what you’re thinking … this piece of jade must have been imported from the East and that’s definitely a possibility, but I find it a bit odd that if there were importations of jade going on that we’d only find it being rarely used in sculptures(off the top of my head, I can only think of a helmet from Dura Europos which had some sort of jade detail) … if you’re trading something potentially valuable, you tend to bring a lot of it, no? In any event, and without getting into the differences between nephrite and jadeite, I bring this up because ages ago I had to do some research about jade for a term paper, and was semi-surprised to learn that there are plenty of examples of jade objects in Europe from Paleolithic and/or Neolithic times and there was quite a debate in the nineteenth century about the origin of it (i.e., with the implication that Paleolithic types were trading with the Far East!). As the debate evolved, it emerged that there was evidence for scattered deposits of jade in various places in Europe (in Switzerland, especially) — a reasonable, if dated, summary can be found in:
- F. W. Rudler, “On the Source of the Jade Used for Ancient Implements in Europe and America,” The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 20, (1891), 332 ff
… for the jade helmet detail from Dura Europos (which I’ve since tracked down again and which is said to have come from Turkmenistan), see:
- Simon James, “Evidence from Dura Europos for the Origins of Late Roman Helmets,” Syria, T. 63, Fasc. 1/2 (1986), p. 121.
… whatever the case, they should be able to do a chemical analysis to determine the source of the jade …
UPDATE (a few hours later): Max Nelson kindly reminds me:
In the article you cite, Simon James does not mention a jade helmet piece but a jade sword piece. More details can be found in Simon James’s Excavations at Dura-Europos 1928-1937, Final Report VII: The Arms and Armor and Other Military Equipment (The British Museum Press 2004), esp. pp. 142 and 151, in which he shows that the jade disc pommel for a sword was found in tower 19 in Dura-Europos. It may have come from a Sasanian weapon held by a Persian attacker; the stone itself may have come from Chinese Turkestan.
… mea culpa, mea culpa … misremembering it because of the title of the article.