Finds of the Month – June 2021

First full month of finds surgeries back and there have been some interesting new additions to the PAS database in Berkshire.

First of is our little Saxon fella; the Early-Medieval copper-alloy Anglo-Saxon gesture figurine.

BERK-0929C9 Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License

It fits within a small (but slowly growing) repertoire of 7th century 3-dimensional figurines from south and east England, mainly along the eastern seaboard. It is interesting that the penis is generally depicted as flaccid, a common theme with Anglo-Saxon male figures, unlike contemporary figurines in Scandinavia. I wonder whether his parts are covered with tight trousers. If he is wearing knee-high boots this might be the case.

Next up this this amazingly complete, and quite large copper-alloy Roman Colchester Derivative Harlow type brooch.

BERK-09BE20 Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License

It is perhaps interesting on this example that the pin has a different patination and doesn’t sit in the wings snuggly. It might be that it isn’t the original pin.

The PAS records a lot of coins, but this was my first of James VI. Dated to AD1601-1603 Obverse: crowned shield containing the royal coat of arms IACO[BVS.6.D.G.S]COTO[RVM]. Reverse: Crowned Thistle. [REGEM IOVA PROTEGIT]. There is some potential deliberate bending of the coin perhaps as a love token but this is unclear.

BERK-860964 Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License

Another first was recording this Post-Medieval puzzle ring. Similar puzzle-rings have been recorded on the PAS database, such as BH-DCD252 (also with one ring decorated), WMID-68CAA3 and NARC-A7D326

BERK-8A60A1 Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License

These, in general, are not reported as treasure as they mostly date to the are not common before the 18th century and so on the balance of probabilities it is likely that none of them are old enough to qualify. However, There is at least one puzzle-ring that has been reported as Treasure, published in the Treasure Annual Report 2005/6, 171, fig. 880. Judy Rudoe’s report makes it clear that without contextual or stylistic evidence to date a puzzle-ring to before 1715, they do not qualify as Treasure. She dates the Ilam ring to the 18th or 19th century, and this date is also appropriate for this ring.

Next is this Early Medieval gilt brooch. 

BERK-1AF26A Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License

The brooch is circular with a small break around the edge. The front has a raised central knop surrounded by a recessed ring, further surrounded by a raised ring of decoration.  It looks like pseudo lettering suggesting that this is a late Anglo-Saxon nummular brooch. It is similar to a ‘rosette’ issue of Eadgar (AD959-975) but is missing a small cross in the centre.

Lastly is this strange object. 

BERK-34A033 Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License

The object is cylindrical and slightly curved. The whole object is shaped like a sea beast with it’s mouth wide open. The narrow end is broken and the wider end has a small but shallow hole. Its uncertain what this object is.

For a special Finds Friday I am heading to Silchester today to talk to some of the students about finds archaeology and life as a FLO. It has been a while since I have visited and even longer since I excavated there. Can’t wait to see what has been occuring.