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The British Museum

ESS-AF909A: A Roman copper alloy and iron spatula/eraser, dating AD 43-410

Rights Holder: Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service
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Unique ID: ESS-AF909A

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

A Roman copper alloy and iron spatula/eraser for a wax tablet, dating AD43-410. This is a Feugère type A5 spatula in the form of a bust of Minerva with an iron blade, which has broken away and is no longer present. Minerva wears a high crested helmet and traces of a cuirass are visible in the decoration of the chest, though the object is incredibly worn. No further detail on the body is visible. The object has broken just at the base of the copper alloy section, with some of the iron blade remaining in the socket. The metal is a mid-dark green colour.

Feugère notes that the dating for these objects is a work in progress, though it is clear that each type was not necessarily used at the same time (Feugère, 2004, 33). The symbol of Minerva, Goddess of wisdom, is appropriate for such objects and can thus associate them with writing tools rather than any other object type, such as a knife terminal. Feugere also notes that it is likely that a British workshop existed to cater to the demand in the province (ibid. 33), which may explain the slightly more stylised look for this example.

Dimensions: height: 53.82 mm; width: 20.61 mm; thickness: 15.32 mm; weight: 34.53g.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Potential for inclusion in Britannia

Class: Feugère type A5

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 43
Date to: Circa AD 410

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 53.82 mm
Width: 20.61 mm
Thickness: 15.32 mm
Weight: 34.53 g

Personal details

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Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Iron
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Essex (County)
District: Braintree (District)
Parish or ward: Rayne (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TL7323
Four figure Latitude: 51.87872852
Four figure longitude: 0.51193441
1:25K map: TL7323
1:10K map: TL72SW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: ESS
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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