Unique ID: SF-A23522

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

A complete copper-alloy handle of a Roman folding knife with an erotic scene. Measuring 50mm in total height and c22mm in width.

The iron blade of the knife survives as a corroded iron deposit within the slot for the blade and can be seen within the handle, through the areas which would have originally have been openwork. The corroded blade remains and the length of the blade slot indicate that the blade would have had a maximum length of no more than 45mm.

The handle is moulded in the round and probably depicts a standing male figure who is engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman seated on the bent shoulders of a third person, who is kneeling. The standing man supports the woman's legs around his waist. The group is set on a plain square pedestal, which has a copper-alloy rivet in situ through one corner, to attach the iron blade of the knife. The figures appear to be naked, although it is hard to tell due to wear. The modelling is crude and the details of the figures were probably originally poorly indicated and are now even more so due to wear. The slot for the knife blade runs up the back of the standing male figure.

An almost identical knife handle, without any remains of the iron blade, of the same size and depicting the same erotic scene has been discovered at Verulamium in fourth-century deposits (Frere 1984, C Johns 56-59, fig 23, no 217).

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Date from: Circa AD 300
Date to: Circa AD 400

Dimensions and weight

Length: 50 mm
Width: 22 mm
Weight: 28.73 g
Quantity: 1

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 1st January 2004

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Identified by: Miss Faye Minter - [view all attributed records]

Other reference numbers

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy [scope notes | view all attributed records]
Secondary material: Iron [scope notes| view all attributed records]

A resized image of Folding knife

Image use policy

Our images can be used under a CC BY-SA licence (unless stated otherwise).

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern
County: Suffolk
District: Mid Suffolk
To be known as: Monk Soham

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector [scope notes]
General landuse: Cultivated land[scope notes]
Specific landuse: Character undetermined[scope notes]

References cited

Similar objects

Find number: HAMP-4D3135
Object type: KNIFE
Broadperiod: ROMAN
A Roman folding knife, the cast copper-alloy handle of which is an erotic scene. The handle is sub-rectangular and openwork. An iron blade ha…
Workflow: PublishedFind validated and published by finds advisers

Find number: SWYOR-374234
Object type: KNIFE
Broadperiod: ROMAN
A cast, copper alloy, anthropomorphic Roman knife handle depicting an erotic scene. The scene is of a man lying on a couch with a woman crouc…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind waiting to be validated

Find number: WMID-879106
Broadperiod: POST MEDIEVAL
A complete copper alloy unidentified object, possibly a mount, dating to the Post-Medieval period, c. AD 1700-1850. The object is freestan…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind waiting to be validated

Report a mistake

Comment on this artefact's record

Your comment will be checked before being posted. We also check for spam using akismet.

Enter your comments:

* This will not be displayed to the public.

* Not compulsory

The following HTML tags can be used - a,p,ul,li,em,strong,br,img,a - and paragraphs will be automatically created

Audit data

Created: Wednesday 11th February 2004
Updated: Thursday 24th February 2011

This page is available in: qrcode json xml geojson rdf representations.

Social Bookmarking: