Unique ID: NMS-0B5BB1

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find validated and published by finds advisers

Silver circular disc, probably a bezel from a finger ring. The disc features a diademed head engraved in intaglio facing to the right. Encircling this is the retrograde and somewhat garbled legend ANTONI VIVAS IN DEO. Several of the letters are back-to-front but the meaning is relatively clear.

The formula VIVAS IN DEO is a Christian one, the translation of this inscription being 'Antonius, may you live in God'. The fact that the letters are retrograde and engraved in intaglio would have made the bezel suited for use as a signet.

Two strikingly similar silver bezels (both 10mm in diameter) with inscriptions including Vivas (but not In Deo) are known from Silchester, one with a male bust and the inscription IVL BELLATOR VIVAS, the other with a female bust and the inscription VIVAS. Both inscriptions were retrograde and thus, like this specimen, intended to be read in impression (Henig, M. A Corpus of engraved gemstones from British sites, BAR British Series 8 (2007), 186, nos. 786 & 787). A gold ring, most likely a betrothal gift, from Brancaster has two confronted busts with the legend VIVAS IN DEO; here the inscription is normal and so intended to be read on the metal (Henig, M. A Corpus of engraved gemstones from British sites, BAR British Series 8 (2007), 186-7, nos. 790).

This signet, given its overt Christian content probably belongs to the 4th or very early 5th century after Constantine's conversion to Christianity in 312. Like the Brancaster ring, it constitutes evidence for Christianity in Late Roman Norfolk.


Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Norfolk Museums Service
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2013T126


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Period to: ROMAN [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Date from: Circa AD 312
Date to: Circa AD 410

Dimensions and weight

Weight: 0.46 g
Diameter: 11 mm
Quantity: 1

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Friday 1st February 2013 - Thursday 28th February 2013

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mrs Erica Darch - [ view all attributed records]
Identified by: Adrian Marsden - [view all attributed records]

Other reference numbers

SMR reference number: 30879
Other reference: JT032013
Treasure case number: 2013T126

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Completeness: Incomplete [scope notes | view all attributed records]

A resized image of Roman finger ring.

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Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern
County: Norfolk
District: King's Lynn And West Norfolk
To be known as: Near Swaffham

Spatial coordinates

Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector [scope notes]

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Created: Friday 1st March 2013
Updated: Monday 14th April 2014

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