NMGW-C46CB4: Vessel Handle

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Unique ID: NMGW-C46CB4

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Roman copper alloy vessel handle The handle is incomplete and is broken at one end, with a surviving length of 76.2mm and has a weight of 77.0g. The handle is deeply curved and is of lozenge section, with a thickness at the break of 9.1mm and a width of 7.4mm. At the top of the handle are zoomorphic figures, comprising a bird and horse. The seated bird, probably a duck, has a length of 37.0mm, a maximum width of 13.4mm and a height of 21.9mm. The feathers of the bird are depicted with transverse lines, forming chevrons at the rear. The horse is depicted on its back and is only represented by the front half of the animal. There is a small gap (0.7mm) between the beak of the bird and the head of the horse. The style of the horse may be seen as naïve, the snout is concave and is flat ended. The inside neck of the horse forms an open loop with the crude, upward projecting legs. The pointed ears are concave and project upwards, containing a single incised line. The mane is depicted by transverse incised lines, again forming chevrons. The front of the handle is beaked and is likely to represent the front of a dolphin. The underside of the beak contains remnants of a white deposit, likely to be an adhesive or solder for attachment to a vessel lid. The surface of the handle is well-preserved with a pale green patina.


The handle is difficult to closely parallel, although the zoomorphic elements on the handle are well known in Roman period iconography. The combination of horse and dolphin may be seen as reminiscent of decoration on late Roman buckles of 4th or 5th century date, sometimes known as the ‘soldiers and settlers type’, although the iconography dates to earlier in the Roman period.

Class: Handle

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 76.2 mm
Width: 7.4 mm
Thickness: 9.1 mm
Weight: 77 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 1st January 2007

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Sian Williams
Identified by: Mr Mark Lodwick

Other reference numbers

Other reference: NMWPA 2007.5

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Leigh (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SU0793
Four figure Latitude: 51.63576522
Four figure longitude: -1.90025311
1:25K map: SU0793
1:10K map: SU09SE
Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1000 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: NMGW
Created: 11 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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