The silver amulet was unearthed on 15 July 1990 during excavations along Fosse Lane in Shepton Mallet.
It was found in the grave of a male aged between 30 and 50 in a small, late Roman cemetery.
The front of the 45mm disc is marked with the ‘ChiRho’; an early Christian symbol incorporating the first two letters of
Christ's name in Greek, which are similar to our modern day letters ‘X’ and ‘P’.
It was these markings that initially led archaeologists to believe that they had stumbled across an extremely rare Christian artefact, generating great excitement on a local and international scale.
Somerset County Council has recently provided authorisation for further tests to be conducted on the amulet.
New technology has enabled experts at the University of Liverpool to analyse the composition of the amulet in more detail than was previously possible.
Two samples of metal taken from the amulet have been analysed by Dr Ponting and were found to be inconsistent with Roman
silver, but are consistent with silver produced in the nineteenth century or later.
Stephen Minnitt, Somerset County Council's Acting Head of Museums, said: "Experts are now ‘99% certain’ that the amulet is not genuine, and it is possible that we may never be able to say with certainty how it came to be buried in Shepton Mallet."
Justin Robinson, Somerset County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health & Well-Being, added: “Somerset County Council is
pleased that some of the mystery surrounding the Shepton Mallet amulet has been solved. We would be very interested to hear from anyone who can shed light on how the amulet came to be buried in Somerset.”
Councillor Margaret Robinson, local member for Shepton Mallet said: "Credit goes to those involved in the analysis of the amulet, whose expertise has uncovered new information about this local mystery.”