HESH-57EFA1: Roman: Melon bead

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Unique ID: HESH-57EFA1

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

Fragment of a faience melon bead of Roman date (50-200 AD). The bead is irregular in plan and cross section. Originally it would probably have been sub-oval shape in plan with a central hole. The outer edge of the bead is flat and polished although the colour differs between dark and light transverse bands. The bead is may have been covered with a turquoise glaze; this has mostly been removed by abrasion. The fabric of the bead is crystalline in places and appears uneven under magnification. The fragment measures 17.5mm length, 12.1mm width, is 5.2mm thick and weighs 1.16 grams. Sally Worrell writes: Faience melon beads were in use during the 1st and 2nd centuries, being most common in the 1st century, particularly on military sites. They were produced in a range of sizes and tend to have wide perforations and convex profiles with vertical or slightly diagonal grooves scored into the outside surface. They were produced in a wide range of blue shades ranging from turquoise to bright blue with a buff/greyish core although in many cases the glaze has completely disappeared or survives only in the grooves. The exact function for these beads is somewhat elusive. The smaller faience beads were probably used in a similar manner to other beads as a form of personal adornment, although the larger faience and glass melon beads may have been impractical to wear, particularly around the neck. An alternative function is that they were used as decoration for horse harness and the heavy abrasion especially at the perforations, as is the case with this bead, may support this proposition.

Class: Melon


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Date from: AD 1
Date to: AD 200

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 17.5 mm
Width: 12.1 mm
Thickness: 5.2 mm
Weight: 1.16 g

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: Faience
Completeness: Fragment

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: Weston Under Penyard

Spatial coordinates

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

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Chance find during metal detecting
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: 10 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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