ESS-593DC4: 2011 T650 Roman zoomorphic brooch

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Unique ID: ESS-593DC4

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Treasure Case: 2011 T650 "Broomfield Area", Essex: Roman Brooch

Date of Discovery: 6th October 2011

Circumstances of discovery: Whilst searching with a metal detector

Date: Roman - 2nd Century

Description: Roman cast silver zoomorphic brooch in the form of a leaping dolphin. The brooch is formed of the arched body of a dolphin, with the head terminating in a triangular mouth. There are two raised and gilded circular eyes on the head, located just before an elongated triangular dorsal fin begins. The dorsal fin has incised vertical lines along its length, and the fin extends to half way along the creatures back. There are two short side fins with central groove, set just back from the eyes and terminating before the end of the dorsal fin. The tail curves up and over the body of the dolphin and terminates in a triangular fin. The mouth, eyes and fins are all gilded, and this has been damaged particularly on the mouth and upper surface of the tail.

The underside of the dolphin is plain and undecorated. The brooch is solid; i.e. the underside is not hollowed out, giving it a general sub-triangular cross section. The catchplate, which is now distorted, extends from the reverse of the mouth, and the double lugs for the hinged pin extend from the underside of the tail. The lugs are an elongated 'D' shape with central perforation; one of the lugs is damaged and incomplete. The pin is missing.

Length: 30.38mm. Width: 11.14mm across side fins, 8.95mm across the tail. Thickness:8.88mm. Depth: 19.67mm. Weight: 10.19 grams.

Discussion: The brooch is similar to Hattatt (1987) Brooches of Antiquity page 246 no 1200 and 1203, which have suggested dates of 1st to 2nd Century AD.

The object contains a minimum of 10% precious metal and is over 300 years old. Consequently it qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act 1996 in terms of both age and precious metal content.

Disposition: To be determined - Checking with Chelmsford Museum

Report by: Laura McLean Finds Liaison Officer, Essex Colchester & Ipswich Museum Service December 2011


TVC Valuation 20/06/2012: £450

Class: zoomorphic (dolphin)

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Chelmsford Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2011T650


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 40
Date to: Circa AD 200

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 30.38 mm
Weight: 10.19 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 6th October 2011

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Laura McLean
Identified by: Laura McLean

Other reference numbers

Other reference: COlchester OEF 6811 / Finder Ref: 001-A0132
Treasure case number: 2011T650

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Essex (County)
District: Chelmsford (District)
To be known as: Broomfield Area

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Chelmsford Museum
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: ESS
Created: 7 years ago
Updated: About one month ago

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