Mr Jackson was metal detecting one day in March, near Atherton, Wigan when he found a Roman bow brooch. He brought it to show to his local Finds Liaison Officer, Frances McIntosh at the Bolton Museum. She identified it as a Kraftig-profilierte type and was quite excited about the find, specifically its location.
It has been recorded on the database as LVPL-1B0623. Mr. Jackson has kindly donated it to be used as part of the handling collection. Kraftig-profilierte means ‘strongly profiled’. This type of brooch is defined as a one piece brooch with a spring of c.8 turns. It has a superior chord held by a rearward facing hook above a wide crossbar. The upper bow expands towards a narrower neck at the head and the profile is highly arched and angular above a central encircling moulding. The foot is narrower and curves upwards towards a terminal knob (Bayley and Butcher; 2004; 59). Hattatt gives them a date of around the first half of the first century AD (1982; 104) This type of brooch is fairly unusual in Britain with only c.30 being known.
PAS record number: LVPL-1B0623
Object type: Brooch
County of discovery: Greater Manchester
Stable url: http://www.finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/189956
Their origin is thought to be Pannonia, an area around the Danube and Rhine. The 9th Legion had been recruited from this area and then came over to England with the invasion of Britain, bringing the Kraftig-profilierte with them (Simpson; 1979; 330). The known examples from archaeological excavations are mostly from the East and South East of England (e.g. Colchester and Richborough). This has been thought to be because this is where the 9th Legion were based/passed through. They are known to have been at Longthorpe (45-66 AD), Lincoln (66-71 AD) and York, reaching there by 71 and staying until c.120. Five of these brooches have been recorded on the PAS database prior to Mr. Jackson’s, all from places in the South East such as Kent, Ditchling and Essex. Due to the small number of this type found it was thought that this style/type was never actually made in Britain. The ones being found came from soldiers who brought the brooch over to this country from Pannonia
However this view is starting to change. An example of a Pannonian brooch has been found during recent excavations at Wroxeter (2002; 103-4 fig 4.7 no 28). The authors of this report say-
“the basic message is that the Pannonian arrived early in small numbers and failed to travel as far as Hod Hillâ€¦ Wroxeter is one of the few assured finds in advance of the Fosse Way “.
Mr. Jackson’s example, along with the one from Wroxeter, starts to put into question the idea that the Pannonian type was not made in Britain. It is thought that the Kraftig type is the precursor of the British Trumpet brooch (Hattatt; 1982; 104-7) and alloy compositional studies have also suggested that some of the British examples could have been made here as copies of this style (Bayley and Butcher; 2004; 148). Variations would have occurred as the British brooch makers created their own versions of the Kraftig type and enough similarities can be seen between the trumpet and the Kraftig to see the transition to this new form took place.
This is a case which shows how important it is to be recording find spots and also highlights how individual finds can really change our ideas about certain things. There are different possibilities about how this brooch ended up so far West compared to all previous examples. Possibly it was exchanged or given as a gift to someone who then travelled over to this part of the country. It could be that one of the 9th came over this way for some reason. Or it could be that this type of brooch was made in Britain and that the NW brooch makers were starting to copy this Continental style. Just because more haven’t been found does not mean there are not more there. What we find is only a small proportion of the material culture which existed in the past. The locality of this brooch supports the Wroxeter example and the alloy studies in changing previous views about this brooch type.
Hattatt, R. 1982. Ancient and Romano-British Brooches. Dorset Publishing Company
Bayley, J and Butcher, S. 2004. Roman Brooches in Britain: A technological and typological study based on the Richborough Collection. The Society of Antiquaries London.
Simpson, G. 1979. Some British and Iberian pennanular brooches and other early types in the Rhineland and the Decumates Agri. Antiquaries Journal, 59. 319-42. English Heritage. 2002. The Legionary Fortress at Wroxeter. English Heritage Report 19.