IOW-C3C8A6: Late Iron Age Studded Sword-Belt Ring.

Rights Holder: Isle of Wight Council
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Rights Holder: Isle of Wight Council
CC License:

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Unique ID: IOW-C3C8A6

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A complete cast copper alloy sword-belt fastener of Late Iron Age date (120 BC - AD 43). Treasure case no. 2006 T396. Diameter 42.0mm. Weight 50.49g. The fastener, cast in one, is in the form of a circular hoop. It has a stud fixed to one side by a neck which projects at an angle of about 90° to the hoop. The external diameter of the hoop is 42.0mm, the internal diameter is 24.0mm and it is about 6.0mm thick. The side of the hoop bearing the stud has a wide circumferential groove (about 4.0mm in width) which extends from one side of the neck to the other. The other side of the hoop is convex, except for behind the neck where there is moulded decoration. This decoration is symmetrical and is in the form of two vertical and parallel narrow grooves at the centre of a flattened area. The flattened area has a basal lip. On either side of the flattened area is a raised and curving lipped moulding, each moulding having a ring-and-dot motif. The concave sided neck projects about 6.0mm from the surface of the hoop and is circular in cross-section having a minimum diameter of 11.0mm. The circular stud has a diameter of 20.0mm and at the front it is slightly recessed. At the centre of this recess there is an annulet in low relief which measures 8.5mm in diameter. There are traces of tinning on all surfaces. The piece is corroded and in poor condition. A patina has not survived.


Three similar strap fasteners have been recorded by Faye Minter, Finds Liaison Officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. These are from Kenton, Monk Soham and Shimpling parishes in Suffolk. See finds SF10270, SF-A39DC7 and SF10003.

The function of these strap fasteners is uncertain and is discussed in the Roman Finds Group Newsletter (Minter 2004, vol. 28, 12-14).

Published examples are from the Roman small town of Wanborough (Hooley in Anderson, Wacher and Fitzpatrick 2001, 95-96, fig 37, no. 120) and from Camerton (Jackson 1990, 38-9). Jackson believes that they could be baldric hooks or even have been used in pairs to attach a sword scabbard to its belt.

A plain circular copper alloy hoop was found within 2.0m of this find. See Portable Antiquities Scheme find: IOW-C4B3D2.

Jody Joy, Curator of Iron Age Collections at The British Museum, has commented on these two artefacts:

"The simple belt-ring [see IOW-C4B3D2] is a relatively common find of Iron Age type and was presumably used as some form of belt fastener. The buttoned-ring is less common. Two similar rings were both deposited in association with iron swords at Coleford, Gloucestershire and Owslebury, Hampshire. Both of these swords were also found with belt-rings. It is therefore probable that the buttoned-ring and the belt-ring represent the metal remains of a belt used in the suspension of a sword.

Based on the dating of the Coleford and Owslebury swords (both swords are of Stead's 'type D' dated from the end of the second century BC - mid-1st century AD) the rings can be dated from the end of the second century BC - Roman Conquest.

Conclusion: Both objects are made from base-metal and are late Iron Age in date. Association has been proved on two counts. First, the objects were uncovered only 1 metre apart. Second, there are clear archaeological precedents for these objects to be found in direct association with one another. Therefore in accordance with the Treasure (Designation) Order 2002, these objects should be considered as treasure".

Find of note status

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

Class: suspension belt
Sub class: baldric

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Acquired by the Isle of Wight Heritage Service, September 2007
Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2006T396


Broad period: IRON AGE
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: IRON AGE
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: IRON AGE
Date from: 120 BC
Date to: AD 43

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Weight: 50.49 g
Diameter: 42 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 14th May 2006 - Thursday 1st June 2006

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Frank Basford
Identified by: Miss Faye Minter
Secondary identifier: Mr Frank Basford

Other reference numbers

Other reference: IOW2006-70-1; Treasure case no. 2006 T396.
Treasure case number: 2006T396

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Tin or tin alloy
Manufacture method: Cast

Surface Treatment: White metal coated

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: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Acquired by the Isle of Wight Heritage Service, September 2007
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Operations to a depth greater than 0.25m

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

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

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