HESH-BA07B7: Roman glass melon bead (front, back, profile)

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:


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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BEAD

Unique ID: HESH-BA07B7

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

Fragment of a dark blue glass melon bead of Roman date (50-200 AD). The bead has been broken in half and 50% survives; it is irregular in plan and cross section. Originally it would probably have been sub-oval shape in plan with a central hole. The central hole is ridged by vertical striations and has an internal diameter of 11.4mm. The outer edge of the bead has regular lentoid shaped ridges formed by regular grooves like depressions. The bead has been broken relatively recently as the edges are crisp and unabraded, the matrix of the glass shows frequent small bubbles. There are also two dark brown seams which run through the glass - these maybe deliberate decoration - although are somewhat irregular. The exact function for these beads is somewhat elusive. The smaller beads were probably used in a similar manner to other beads as a form of personal adornment, although the larger faience and glass melon beads may have been impractical to wear, particularly around the neck. An alternative function is that they were used as decoration for horse harness and the heavy abrasion especially at the perforations may support this proposition. Nina Crummy writes: "These beads [=melon beads] are found in 1st and 2nd century contexts and seem, on the evidence from our catalogue, to have been introduced into this country at the conquest. There is some slight indication that the smaller the bead the earlier it is. Most are made from turquoise frit, which often decays to white." Crummy publishes only one example made from dark blue glass (fig.32, no. 524). (Crummy 1983, 30+32).

The fragment measures 27.1mm diameter, 16.3mm width, 17.4mm high and is 8.1mm thick; it weighs 8.1 grams.

Class: Melon

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: ROMAN
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 50
Date to: Circa AD 200

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 17.4 mm
Width: 16.3 mm
Thickness: 8.1 mm
Weight: 8.1 g
Diameter: 27.1 mm

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Peter Reavill
Identified by: Mr Peter Reavill

Other reference numbers

Other reference: SHRMS: 00716

Materials and construction

Primary material: Glass
Decoration style: Geometric
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Leintwardine (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SO4075
Four figure Latitude: 52.36974574
Four figure longitude: -2.88267796
1:25K map: SO4075
1:10K map: SO47NW
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1000 metre square.

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HESH
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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