IOW-B354E4: Roman Long-Nosed Hound Figurine.

Rights Holder: Frank Basford
CC License:

Rights Holder: Frank Basford
CC License:

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Unique ID: IOW-B354E4

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

An almost complete cast copper alloy "long-nosed hound" figurine of Roman date, perhaps fourth century (AD 300 - AD 400). Length 39mm, width 35mm and 13.5mm thick. Weight 34.72g. The three-dimensional male hound is similar to the breed of dog now known as an Irish wolfhound. It is in a relaxed pose, resting on its haunches on a small integral rectangular plinth with its forepaws together at its front. It is glancing upwards slightly with its head turned about 45° to the right and its mouth closed. The nose is elongated and its cheeks are quite pronounced. The ears are erect and pointed. However, the tip of the right ear is broken and absent. The collared neck is slender and the torso, hips and front legs are also slender but muscular. Its tail is curled around to the left, close to the body. The front and rear paws do not seem to have received so much attention to detail as the other elements of the figurine. Worn decorative hatching on the chest, body, hip, right shoulder, and each cheek represents hair. The figurine, which has a dark green shiny patina, is in good condition although the surface is worn. In fact, the hatching on the hound's left side which represents hair may have been present over the entire surface originally but have worn off in most places as a result of frequent handling. The break on the right ear has a light green patina. The underside of the plinth is coarse and uneven suggesting that it might have been attached to a larger object. The form of the plinth is closely-paralleled by that on the fine bronze boar figurine from Camerton, Avon, which preserves traces of a solder fastening (Jackson 1990, 26-27, frontispiece and Pl.1). The newly-discovered Isle of Wight hound is very similar in style to a hound from the Roman temple at Lydney although having a different pose. Toynbee comments that "Small bronze dogs designed for votive offering are known from Britain and seven of these have been dedicated in the late-fourth century temple of the Celtic god of healing, Nodens, at Lydney, Gloucestershire. One of these votive dogs stands apart from the rest of the work of quite exceptional excellence. It presents the three-dimensional figure of an "Irish wolf hound", resting on the ground, with its forepaws extended and its head turned back towards some person or object that has arrested its attention. This characteristically canine pose, the powerful limbs and haunches, the supple back, and the heavy collar lying loosely around the slender neck must have been drawn direct from Nature. But Celtic stylization also plays its part in the elongated nozzle, in the round eyes, in the decorative hatching of the ears and coat, in the curious whirligigs of hair on the hips and shoulders, and in the generally blunt and unsophisticated handling of the forms. The figurine is, in fact, a signal instance of the perfect fusion of the Celtic and classical traditions under Roman auspices that confronts us not infrequently in works of art of British provenance. As for its date - it could, of course, have been cast some considerable time before its dedication in the shrine of Nodens and have been originally purely an ornament" (Toynbee 1964, 126-7). The quality of the Isle of Wight hound is comparable to that of the Lydney hound described in detail by Toynbee.

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Class: Dog

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Isle of Wight Heritage Service
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by a museum - not a Treasure case


Broad period: ROMAN
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 300
Date to: Circa AD 400

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 39 mm
Width: 35 mm
Thickness: 13.5 mm
Weight: 34.72 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 1st January 2005

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Frank Basford
Identified by: Mr Frank Basford

Other reference numbers

Other reference: IOW2006-23-15

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Isle of Wight

Spatial coordinates

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

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Isle of Wight Heritage Service
General landuse: Grassland, Heathland
Specific landuse: Regularly improved

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: IOW
Created: 12 years ago
Updated: 6 years ago

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