Finds of the Month – January 2021

With the current lockdown restrictions metal detecting hasn’t been allowed this month. However, I have still been receiving finds from pre-lockdown and here are a few I have recorded this month.

First up is the featured find from last week. A Silver-plated contemporary copy of a denarius of Septimius Severus (AD193 – 211). There was a lot of counterfeit coinage floating about during the reign of Severus. This one has the obverse of Septimius Severus but a reverse of a coin of Caracalla.

BERK-6C680C Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-BY 2.0

This Iron Age silver unit (12mm, 1.20g) of the Southern region / Atrebates was recorded by the Surrey FLO. It is attributed to Epaticcus (AD 20-40) and of “Epaticcus Eagle” type. Epaticcus was the son of Cunobelinus who ruled the territory of the Catuvellauni. Epaticcus’ coinage is found in the neighbouring Atrebatic lands which he likely controlled from the early 1st century AD.

SUR-8403F4 Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-BY 2.0

A rather early coin is this silver Roman Republican denarius of C. Censorinus Rome, 88 BC Obv. Jugate heads of Numa Pompilius and Ancius Marcus (the 1st and 3rd Kings of Rome). The closeness of their heads could speak to their lineage as well as their policy of peace. The reverse shows a Desultor, wearing conical hat, holding whip in right hand, riding near horse of two horses. The term Desultor has been applied to individuals skilled at leaping from one horse or chariot to another.

BERK-42C3B7 Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-BY 2.0

The final coin this week is a copper-alloy Roman radiate of Gallienus (AD 253-268), sole reign, dating to the period c.AD 260-268 (Reece period 13). NEPTVNO CONS AVG reverse type depicting a Hippocamp. Gllienus minted coins depicting a Criocamp, Hippocamp and Capricorn. Although they look similar the hippocamp will have a horse’s head, while the criocamp/Capricorn will have a goat/ram’s head. The Capricorn does not usually with the curled tail either.

Andrew Brown says: “There is a difference in the reverse legend too, so the hippocamp is usually NEPTVNO CONS AVG (which is on this coin) and with officina letter N, while the capricorn/criocamp has MERCVRIO CONS AVG and usually officina letters H or ς . The MERCVRIO types are very rare though, the majority will be the normal NEPTVNO/Hippocamp. I don’t think we have any of the criocamp/Capricorn types on the PAS yet and there were very few in the Frome Hoard (3 MERCVRIO examples amongst nearly 6,000 Gallienus coins from the Rome mint) or Cunetio (6 from over 11,000 Rome mint coins).

BERK-6F833B Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-BY 2.0

Onto other objects now with this Wroxter, Trumpet-derivative type brooch. The cast brooch is incomplete but the spring remains in place. Above the head is a damaged plate or integral chain-loop and decorated with a diagonal lentoid moulding at the break. They date from c.AD70 – 125 and there are many variants of trumpet brooches with various different distribution patterns.

NMGW-ED55B0 Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-BY 2.0

On this harness pendant is the remnant traces of red (gules) and possibly blue (azure) enamel on the corroded surface. The heraldic device appears to depict a griffin sergeant in red enamel (?Azure, griffin sergeant gules). It dates to the 13th or 14th century and the design was probably used by many families so narrowing this down is next to impossible, especially as the pendants likely travelled.

NMGW-EEB9C8  Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-by 2.0

This Post-Medieval circular lead has a central depression on each side and on one side is an I represeting 1 in Roman numerals. The mass of the mass is 443.g. It is approximately the weight of one avoirdupois or mercentile pound (448g and 437.4g). This is +/- 1-2% which would have likely been acceptable as long as the seller and buyer were happy. It could also have lost a little mass over time.

BERK-6A7FE6 Copyright: The Portable Antiquities Scheme, License: CC-by 2.0

Hopefully restrictions will be easing in the next couple of months, but in the meantime keep sending those pre-lockdoen finds and get in contact if you have any questions.