SF-2492B7: Roman Duck Mount

Rights Holder: Suffolk County Council Archaeology Service
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Rights Holder: Suffolk County Council
CC License:

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Unique ID: SF-2492B7

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A cast copper-alloy figurine of probable Romano-British or possibly later Iron Age date. The figurine is in the form of a duck and appears to have originally formed one component of a larger artefact, possibly as a decorative mount for a vessel or similar object. The duck has a body that is sub-oval shaped in plan tapering slightly towards the tail end, with a domed front face that has straight sides and a pointed tail end. In profile the body is almost a pointed oval in shape, flaring from a rounded front face over the wings and curving down to a pointed tail formed by the base rising at an angle of approximately 45 degrees to meet the upper surface mid-way up the body. The underside of the body is flattened and has a large central oval shaped concave recess encrusted with what appears to be a white, possibly metallic (lead alloy?), substance that would have enabled attachment of the figurine to a larger object. On the upper/front face of the body can be seen incised decorative motifs that delineate the wings. These comprise semi-circular facets to either side of the body that contain numerous short parallel incised strokes arranged in pairs to form neat rows of V-shaped motifs that represent the duck's feathers. These decorated facets run from front to back of the body and in profile give the impression of folded wings along the side of the body. The front face of the body delineating the breast of the duck is rounded, slightly bulbous, and forms the base of the S-shaped neck. This is circular in section and arches backwards over the body before curving forwards to join the head. The neck is neatly rendered, constricting slightly around its middle before expanding again to the head, with faint toolmarks visible on all faces, particularly the back of the neck at the point where it joins the body. While this indicates the neck was at least finished by hand using a file or similar tool, the breast has numerous small facets that are almost circular in shape and may indicate it was worked with a hammer. At the top of the neck is the oval shaped head. This is relatively flat with an almost rectangular plan and oval shaped profile. On either side at the middle of the head are large ring-and-dot eyes that fill the majority of the space on the head. Projecting from the front of the head is an elongated beak that has a flat base with faceted upper surface to produce a triangular cross-section. This tapers to a flaring tip with an upper surface that curves downwards to meet the base of the beak. The object has a good dark brown patina with some traces of corrosion on one side in particular. Other than the wings and eyes it appears undecorated. It measures 30.95mm in length, 12.17mm in width, 22.25mm in height, and weighs 16.18g. This duck appears to have formed a decorative, figural attachment to a larger vessel or implement, such as a dish or bowl. Similar objects have been recorded through the PAS (see for example ESS-062A46 or WAW-4949B6) with the suggestion of their usage as mounts. A close published parallel has not as yet been identified, however this example probably dates to the very end of the Iron Age into the Roman period, perhaps from the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD.


Broad period: IRON AGE
Period from: IRON AGE
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa 100 BC
Date to: Circa AD 200

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 30.95 mm
Width: 12.17 mm
Thickness: 22.25 mm
Weight: 16.18 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 1st August 2009

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Andrew Brown
Identified by: Dr Andrew Brown

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cambridgeshire (County)
District: South Cambridgeshire (District)
To be known as: Fen Ditton

Spatial coordinates

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

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SF
Created: 8 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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