BM-DE3F11: Roman polychrome bracelet

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Unique ID: BM-DE3F11

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

A fragment of copper-alloy and iron polychrome bracelet dating to the Roman period. The bracelet possesses a corroded iron core around which has been wrapped two circular-section pieces of wire. It is possible that these wires are made from different alloys although this is not altogether clear. The bracelet measures 59mm in diameter and a maximum width of 3mm. See also BM-DB7146 and BM-DD47BC and BM-F3BA25.

Mike Marshall notes that although cable bracelets are a common Roman type, polychrome examples are much rarer, accounting for only 2% of Hilary Cool's bracelet corpus (1983, 122). Several examples have been excavated from 1st- and 2nd-century contexts at Bloomberg London and quite a number can now be cited from other London Walbrook sites including finds in the Museum of London core collection from Barge Yard (MoL 806; from within the outline of the present site) and Copthall Court (MoL A112; Wheeler 1946, 103, pl XL 6), and a number of similar finds from recent MOLA excavations in the upper Walbrook valley at 8-10 Moorgate (Marshall in prep a, eg MOQ10 <1951>) and Crossrail Broadgate Tickethall (Marshall in prep b; XSM10 <433>) which are associated with 2nd-century AD pottery.
An early Roman date for this polychrome variant would explain their scarcity in Cool's predominantly late Roman sample and the polychrome Walbrook group can be contrasted with the monochrome late Roman cable bracelets from the London eastern cemetery (Barber and Bowsher 2000). Dating elsewhere is sparse but consistent with this hypothesis. A polychrome example comes from an early 2nd-century burial at Guilden Morden, Cambridgeshire (Cool 1983, 686, group I, no. 208) and one of three polychrome examples recorded by Cool from Colchester was strung with a coin of Nero (Cool 1983, 128). Strictly this can only serve as a terminus post quem but might support an early date. An example from Vindolanda (Birley and Greene 2006, 141-2, fig 4.7, SF3805) comes from within the fort itself and dates to the early 2nd century AD.


SF 5192. Seen 30.5.18

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 59 mm
Width: 3 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 22, Bag 2

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Iron
Completeness: Fragment

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: 54.52984883
Four figure longitude: -1.67701825
1:25K map: NZ2115
1:10K map: NZ21NW
Grid reference source: From finder
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

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: BM
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: About one month ago

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