HESH-BBBBA7: Iron Age Bow Brooch - bow decoration

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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BROOCH

Unique ID: HESH-BBBBA7

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

Cast copper alloy bow brooch of probable late Iron Age or possible early Roman date (300 BC- 100 AD). The brooch is complete. The pin is held by a hinge which is attached to an axis bar. This bar is probably made of iron, due to the large amount of orange staining and corrosion product present around the head of the brooch. The axis bar is contained by semi-cylindrical cover that is formed from the upper part of the brooch being rolled / folded upon itself and hammer welded to the reverse face of the head. The pin is connected to the axis bar through a small slit in this cover. The head of the brooch is rectangular in plan and tapers to form the angular bow with a sub rectangular (rectangular with rounded corners) cross section. The width of the head of the brooch is 21.5mm. The bow of the brooch flares and tapers along its length, its maximum width is 10.3mm. In profile the bow tapers to a small point and terminates in a large bi-convex faceted bulbous foot. In plan the bow expands from a point ¾ along the length to form a rectangular shaped catchplate. The edge of the catchplate is turned / rolled back upon itself to form a U shaped pin rest. The catchplate measures 23.7mm length, 12.2 mm width. The brooch measures 85.2mm length, 21.5mm maximum width, 12.2mm maximum thickness, and weighs 27.63 grams.

The head and bow of the brooch are both decorated with a series of incised motifs. The longitudinal edges of the head of the brooch have had small U shaped indentations created probably by either filing or possibly drilling. These indentations are broadly arranged in a symmetrical pattern with four indentations on each side. However, the execution of this symmetrical pattern is not exact and the edges have a lopsided feel to them. This lopsidedness can also be seen in the main area of decoration on the head of the brooch. The overall pattern is that of a diagonal (saltire) cross formed from small incised (drilled) dots. This pattern is again irregular and the arms of the cross are uneven. In this area of the brooch are further pieces of decoration. To the left and right of the cross are small central incised dots. Another area is around the edge of the head where a single incised dot has been placed between each of the small indentations. At the bottom of the head at the junction with the bow is a double horizontal band of incised dots. The decoration and execution of the design on the bow of the brooch is similar to that described above. This area of decoration is located on approximately half way along the bow where a bulbous panel is formed. This panel is decorated by a similar central diagonal cross with a single horizontal band of incised dots above and a triple horizontal band below. Unlike the decoration on the head the incised dots in this area are connected by horizontal and diagonal incised lines. The skill and execution of the design is better achieved in this area, however the design is still a little lopsided. The reverse, catchplate and foot of the brooch are plain and undecorated.

The brooch is a mid-dark green colour with a deep and polished patina which covers all surfaces. There are small areas of light green corrosion present these are mostly located on the side of the brooch and on the pin. In general the edges of the brooch are crisp and therefore it is unlikely that the brooch has been rolled in the ploughsoil. There are some areas of damage; however these are limited to the extremities of the brooch. The damaged areas include the pin rest / catch plate and also the pin. When found the pin was separate from the brooch and the finder has subsequently reattached it to the hinge. The dating of the pin is based on a number of similar European brooches in Hattatt’s Visual Catalogue of Ancient Brooches pages 290-294. A direct British or European parallel has not been found.

Class: Bow

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: IRON AGE
Period from: IRON AGE
Date from: 300 BC
Date to: AD 100

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 85.2 mm
Width: 21.5 mm
Thickness: 12.2 mm
Weight: 27.63 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 31st October 2005

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Peter Reavill
Identified by: Mr Peter Reavill

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Herefordshire

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HESH
Created: 13 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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