PUBLIC-923241: Roman Crossbow Brooch (probably)

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: PUBLIC-923241

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

Probably a Roman Copper alloy bow brooch of Crossbow type and of 3rd to 4th century date
The brooch is fragmentary, represented by the crossbow and top of the bow only (with a surviving overall length of 20.4mm and a weight of 14.3g). The corrosion and encrustation of the surface makes it difficult to identify features, although there is a suggestion of a corroded and filled slot at the rear of the head. The slot would have accommodated a hinged pin. The crossbar is distorted (with a length of 52.2mm) and has circular sectioned arms (with a maximum diameter of 6.2mm and a minimum diameter of 4.3mm), terminating in integral spherical knops (with a diameter of 10.4mm). The arms have traces of grooved and ribbed decoration, now largely lost. No decoration is evident on the terminal knops. The bow appears to be of D-shaped section (with a width and thickness at the head of 9.0mm and 4.6mm respectively), and is comparatively slender for Crossbow brooches. The brooch has a dark grey surface corrosion layer, which is encrusted with sand and shell fragments.

Microscopic analysis of the surface suggested the possible presence of silver chlorides and it was decided to non-destructively test the metal to ensure that there were no Treasure implications for the discovery. Analysis to ascertain the elemental composition of the artefacts was carried out using a CamScan MaXim 2040 analytical scanning electron microscope (SEM), plus an Oxford Instruments Link Isis energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDX). The objects were examined whole within the specimen chamber and were analysed for 100 live seconds using a working distance of 35mm and an accelerating voltage of 20kV. The results are semi-quantitative and overall totals taken from minimally prepared surfaces are usually affected to some degree by the surface geometry of the artefacts, including factors such as curvature, pitting and indentations etc. Other factors that can also affect the results include surface oxidation, surface enrichment or depletion of certain elements, contamination from closely adhering dirt, and preferential corrosion.
Three separate readings were taken and the majority of the overall totals acquired were slightly low due to the factors described above. The results were normalised to 100% to obtain consistency between the readings and to make the analyses comparable with other results the average compositions were: 88.7% copper, 10.89% tin and 0.45% iron.

The fragmentary nature of the item and the highly corroded surface condition make identification uncertain. However the features visible would suggest a Crosbow type bow brooch.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: National importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: ROMAN
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 200
Date to: Circa AD 400

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 20.4 mm
Weight: 14.3 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 1st June 2010 - Thursday 1st July 2010

Personal details

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

Other reference numbers

Other reference: NMGWPA 2010.135.2

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: Wales (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Swansea (Unitary Authority)
District: Swansea (Unitary Authority)

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

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

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