WILT-5D5B17: Roman zoomorphic brooch

Rights Holder: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
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Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: WILT-5D5B17

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

An apparently complete (although possibly missing a tail) Roman copper alloy and enamel zoomorphic plate brooch in the form of a boar, of continental form and dating from the 2nd century AD. It measures 33.37x26.25x10.26mm and weighs 7.45g.

The body is rectangular in section (3.51mm thick) and filled with three enamel-filled dots (the outer two blue, the central one red). The underneath of the belly is at an angle, while the top of the back has a slight curve which extends into the rump, D-shaped in cross-section and 4.45mm thick. This is decorated with five enamel-filled dots, four red in square formation around a central blue one. Hattatt comments this type of enamelling (round hollows filled with enamel) is typical of French enamelling (Cf. Hattatt 1194 and 1196 for similarly-decorated brooches of different zoomorphic form).

The curving crescentic head is flanked by two ridges of mane at the neck. These are decorated with transverse grooves. The head itself has a ring-and-dot eye with a raised ridge to one side )presumably representing a tusk) and open mouth beyond with snout turned upwards, and behind the eye to the side a moulded and raised triangle for an ear. From this point, and running to the bottom of the mane, is a crest of six joined rectangles, divided by transverse grooves, with triangular ends - three are rather worn and missing these.

From the front of the body and the underside of the rump extends the limbs. The former is long and at a slight angle, curving downwards towards the trotter. The latter is short and vertical to a projecting joint, where it extends downwards at an angle to the trotter. Both trotters are resting on a horizontal bar 22.32mm in length, 1.58mm wide and 1.80mm thick, decorated to the front only with transverse grooves.

To the reverse there is a double pin lug behind the rump with the pin corroded in place and now thin and delicate. The catchplate is at the back and bottom of the head with a worn curl. Two grooves, at the top and right hand side of the catchplate, are presumably to help align it.

The patina is smooth and dark green in colour. All the enamel survives apart from most of the blue cell behind the mane. According to D.F. (2011) zoomorphic brooches like these are continetinal and are not that frequent in Britain. The find being discussed falls under D.F. Mackreth (2011) Atelier A type.

Reference: Hattatt, R, 1987; Brooches of Antiquity, Oxford, p.243. Further examples can also be found in D.F. Mackreth (2011), "Brooches in Late Iron Age and Roman Britain". Volume II Plate 27, Nos. 14440, 8123 and 8133.

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Class: Plate
Sub class: Zoomorphic

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 100
Date to: Circa AD 250

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 33.37 mm
Width: 26.25 mm
Thickness: 10.26 mm
Weight: 7.45 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 20th February 2012

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Katie Hinds
Identified by: Ms Katie Hinds

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Salisbury Museum Entry Form No. 3740

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with enamel

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Salisbury

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 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

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: WILT
Created: 7 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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