LVPL-CBAA44: Roman unidentified object

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Unique ID: LVPL-CBAA44

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

A cast copper alloy object of Roman date. The object has a curved handle or stem, which is zoomorphic, probably in the form of a dolphin. The stem terminates with a sub-oval snout which projects upwards from the head. The lower part of the mouth/snout terminates with a break and it may have continued on with another dolphin head forming a loop, with the opposite side being symetrical.

The head which is sub-triangular in cross-section is angled at the outer edge forming a crest and is decorated on each side with a series of diagonal grooves. At the centre of each side is a stamped ring-and-dot motif which represents the eyes. At the back of the head is a notched projection before the object narrows and curves round forming an elongated neck which is C-shaped in plan and bevelled on one side. The opposite edge of the stem is straight at this point giving the overall stem an inverted S-shape in plan. The end of the stem curves outwards, representing the tail of the dolphin, and is decorated with a bi-lobed terminal. The stem is decorated on each side with a series of punched dots.

Projecting from the internal edge of the stem is a straight rectangular section which is D-shaped in cross-section. From the flattened edge projects six incomplete 'prongs' or rings. Each side is decorated with six punched dots and two horizontal grooves which are not level and one of which cuts through a dot.

Projecting up from the top of the for the rectangular projection at a 90 degree angle is a sub-rectangular sectioned projection which curves round at its terminal to face the bi-lobed terminal of the stem, or tail. This is decorated on each face with two punched dots between which is a single punched ring-and-dot motif. The ring is worn on each face.

The object has a smooth dark brown patina but is corroded in places.

An exact parallel for this object has not been found however the dolphin-like form often occurs on Roman buckles which origionated along the imperial border in Europe in the early or mid-4th century AD, (Apples and Laycock, 2007, p167). Similar examples can be seen on p176-181, (ibid).

A possible function which has been suggested is an oil-flask suspension loop. An example of an oil-flask suspension which can be found on the database is Hatt, J (2005) ESS-1DC305 A ROMAN VESSEL Webpage available at: and Williams, S (2008) NMGW-E6F8E6 A ROMAN UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT Webpage available at: An unprovenanced example was recorded by Liversage (1968, p 137).

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 300
Date to: Circa AD 410

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 56.7 mm
Width: 16.22 mm
Thickness: 10.14 mm
Weight: 14.1 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 1st September 2014

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Vanessa Oakden
Identified by: Ms Vanessa Oakden

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Decoration style: Zoomorphic
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Lincolnshire (County)
District: North Kesteven (District)
To be known as: Navenby

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Liversage, J. 1968 Britain in the Roman Empire

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LVPL
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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