PUBLIC-D645A7: Roman Dragonesque mount

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

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Unique ID: PUBLIC-D645A7

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

A cast copper alloy Roman Dragonesque style mount, c. AD 75-175. It is incomplete as the foot is missing. The mount consists of an S-shaped plate with moulded relief decoration and is convex in profile. The front of the plate is slightly convex and the reverse is slightly concave.

The front of the brooch is decorated with cellls for inlaid enamel or glass. At the centre of the plate is a transverse bar that contains three diamond shaped cells. This is surrounded, above and below by a curved-shaped decorative panel. Both sides of the plate have a border consisting of an incised line parallel to the exterior edge of the plate. At one end of the plate is a stylised zoomorphic terminal (head). It is pointed oval in plan with large circular pellets at their centre representing the creature's eye. Beneath the eyes the terminals project slightly with moulded sub-oval shaped lobes; these have a moulded central groove and represent the mouth of the creature. The raised areas either side of the grooves are decorated with numerous incised diagonal lines giving the impression of ears. The terminal at the top of the brooch curves downwards to meet the plate, with the remains of a short connecting strip visible between the two that maybe casting waste.

The reverse face of the brooch has a flattened outer edge and at the middle of the plate and at both terminals is concave. From the centre of the body plate a sub-rectangular stud projects. It is worn and incomplete; possibly originally terminating in a rounded point. The entire brooch has a dark brown patina but other than the moulded and incised decoration there appears to be no trace of added decoration or enamelling. It measures 58.30mm in length, 23.69mm in width, 7.05mm in thickness, and weighs 19.32g.

A direct parallel for this style of mount have not been found after extensive searching in published material. However, similar examples of Dragonesque brooches with enamelled decoration are noted in Hattatt (1989: nos. 155, 1026), with closer parallels in terms of form and decoration apparent from examples recorded on the Portable Antiquities Database (see for example NLM-2169C1, NCL-3004B5 and SWYOR-3F5057). Bayley and Butcher (2004: pp. 171-172) discuss the development of the type, noting a marked concentration of finds in Northern Britain in both military and 'native' sites, suggesting a date range during the Early Roman period of the 1st to 2nd centuries AD. with blue champlevé enamel remaining in two lines of lozenges in the centre, flanked by blue enamelled curvilinear designs with orange dots. There is also blue champlevé enamel at the centre of the eye. Cf. British Museum object ref. P&EE POA 201. In "Roman Brooches in Britain", Bayley and Butcher comment that the Flavian period (AD69-96) sees the virtual disappearance of imported brooches and the proliferation of types produced in Britain, including the dragonesque brooch, continuing into the second century (2004, p.207). Celtic design, as on this brooch, is seen on some dragonesque brooches and other material culture of the period (see Fraser Hunter, 2008, "Celtic art in Roman Britain"). Hunter comments that: "Celtic art did not die with the coming of the legions" (p.129). He adds that, "...rather than expressing any-non Roman or non-military identity, or being a rejection of Rome - its prevalence in military contexts suggests instead it played a role in forging a new identity - that the army became linked to a wider frontier culture. The material adapted to these circumstances, changing and responding to changed times to decorate new objects and create new forms of material culture." In: "Roman Brooch Timeline", Worrell (2007) dates the dragonesque brooch to AD75-175. It is highly likey that this example is contemporanus with the brooches and may well have been cast in the same workshop as those making brooches. It may be a one off or unique find which is due to an individuals needs rather than a wider demand in the local population.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance

Class: Dragonesque

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 75
Date to: Circa AD 175

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 40.33 mm
Width: 19.68 mm
Thickness: 3.24 mm
Weight: 6.8 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 17th June 1999

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Emily Nicklin
Identified by: Mr Peter Reavill

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with enamel

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: Withington

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: Operations to a depth less than 0.25 m

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: PUBLIC
Created: 8 years ago
Updated: 7 years ago

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