FAPJW-AB59E5: Roman finger ring

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Unique ID: FAPJW-AB59E5

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

An elaborate and unusual gold finger ring with blue glass setting, probably dating to the third century AD. The hoop of the finger ring is sub-rectangular with an internal diameter of 13.5mm and an external diameter of 14mm. The hoop has been hammered from sheet gold. Irregular hammer marks are visible on its external surface and a join is visible on its internal surface. At its base, the hoop has a width of 4mm. This expands at the shoulders to a maximum width of 10mm. A cylindrical bezel extends from the centre of the widest part of the hoop. The bezel has a diameter of 8mm at its base and widens to a diameter of 9mm at the point where it meets the setting. Approximately 1mm below the point where the bezel ends, the circumference of the bezel is decorated with a 'skirt' of gold, which has been applied irregularly so that the join is apparent in places. This 'skirt' measures 2mm in width and extends at a 45 degree angle downwards. The upper surface of the 'skirt' is decorated with incised radiating lines, resembling a sunburst pattern. The bezel itself is set with a spherical blue glass sphere measuring 8mm in diameter, decorated with three white, circular swirls. The upper surface of the sphere is chipped and only half of it is visible. It extends 4mm beyond the bezel. The size of the glass bead and its positioning suggest that it has been recycled and indeed parallels such as an example from Jericho, Aberdeenshire in the Aberdeen University Museum Collection (Accession Number: ABDUA:15505) suggest that the bead or sphere is Late Iron Age in date (Elizabeth Foulds, pers. comm.) From the base of the hoop to the tip of the setting, the ring measures 22m in height. Including the skirt, the bezel has a diameter of 12mm. The thickness of the hoop varies, depending on the degree of hammering. At its base, it measures 0.68mm in thickness.

The finger ring does not fit within existing typologies of Roman finger rings. This is perhaps understandable given the fact that the bezel appears to have originally formed part of an earring of Allason-Jones Type 11 which have been dated to the third century AD (Allason-Jones 1988, Fig. 1). An example from the vicus at Vindolanda offering a particularly close parallel (Allason-Jones 1989, 59, No. 67 and Figure 3 ; Vindolanda Acc. No. 2470, excavation no. PSB 80/30). However the hammered and faceted hoop can be paralleled, particularly in an example from Vindolanda (Birley and Greene 2006, 123, SF 300 and Fig. 3.3 on page 132) which was found in a context dating to the period AD 200 to AD 213.


SF 8015. Seen 2.5.18

Find of note status

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

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


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

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 22 mm
Thickness: 0.68 mm
Weight: 4.24 g
Diameter: 14 mm

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Philippa Walton
Identified by: Dr Philippa Walton

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Box 5, Bag 4

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Secondary material: Glass
Manufacture method: Struck or hammered
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: North East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Darlington (Unitary Authority)
District: Darlington (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Piercebridge (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: NZ2115
Four figure Latitude: 54.52985
Four figure longitude: -1.67702
1:25K map: NZ2115
1:10K map: NZ21NW
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Other chance find
Discovery circumstances: While diving in the River Tees
General landuse: Open fresh water

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: FAPJW
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: 5 days ago

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