HESH-020723: Roman: Ferrule

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: HESH-020723

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A cast copper alloy ferrule or terminal probably of early Roman date (50-200 AD). The ferrule consists of a tapering cylindrical body terminating at an expanded solid turned cast (reel-like) foot. The body of the ferrule is split in one area, possibly around a rivet hole. The hole is broadly sub-triangular with rounded edges - which may suggest that it was deliberately designed. It measures 8.9mm length x 2.4mm width. The function of this hole was presumably to fix the ferrule to a slender wooden rod.

The ferrule is decorated with a series of both cast and incised decorative designs. Around the mouth, above the fixing hole, are a series of three raised circumferential bands with two recessed groves contained within. It is also possible that the body of the ferrule is decorated with a lattice incised design but this is indistinct due to an encrusted 'riverine?' corrosion product. The foot of the ferrule has a turned cast design reminiscent of that seen on Roman Trumpet brooches. It consists of two raised circular elements forming a reel like foot; the circumferential ridge of each is decorated with a single and of raised pellets. The base of the foot has a centrally position knop, possibly with a series / ring of incised pellets enclosing it. Again it is difficult to interpret this design due to the encrusted nature of the artefact.

The ferrule is a mid green colour with an encrusted corroded patina which contains significant quantities of grit and sand. Beneath the surface of this corrosion the metal seems to be very well preserved with a brass colour showing through in places. The [reservation of this piece suggests deposition in a waterlogged or riverine environment. A direct parallel for this artefact has not been found - although it is identified as a ferrule, it is uncertain what composite artefact this is part of. The small diameter of the mouth would suggest a slender rod fitted it, and a suitable artefact has yet to be discovered. Stylistically this artefact is likely to be early Roman in date, although the reel like foot might suggest a 'native British' design that is relatively common in Shropshire in the period up to c. 150 AD

The ferrule measures 41.1mm length, has a diameter of 11.5mm at the mouth and 9.1mm at the foot. It weighs 11.76 grams. The internal diameter at the mouth is 7.0mm grams and the depth of the ferule socket is 17.2mm (although it is possibly deeper due to its tapering nature).


The soil from the ferrule was removed by the FLO, in nature it was a gritty sandy silt similar to that encrusted on the outer faces. The soil was removed to gauge the depth of the socket and to stop active corrosion in the mouth where the soil was acting as a moisture sponge.

Find of note status

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

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


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

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 41.1 mm
Weight: 11.76 g
Diameter: 11.5 mm

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: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Ellesmere

Spatial coordinates

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

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
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: 8 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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