LANCUM-3C3804: Gold setting with gemstone intaglio 2016T1075

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License:

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License:

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Unique ID: LANCUM-3C3804

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

Report on potential Treasure for HM Coroner

2016 T1075 Rowley area, East Riding of Yorkshire.

PAS database: LANCUM-3C3804 and PUBLIC-06FF72

Circumstances of discovery:

Found on 27th November 2016 whilst metal-detecting on cultivated land.


A Roman intaglio within a gold setting, probably a pendant from a necklace or earring. The almost circular, slightly ovoid intaglio is set at one end of a tube of gold sheet and a separate sheet applied to cover the back. An overlapping joint is visible on the tube. A separate collar has been fitted over the tube about half way down, to form a flanged border of crimped or rilled appearance. This effect is achieved with undulating ridges flattened off at the top on the front surface. At the top of the pendant between the setting and the collar are traces of two broken-off projections of circular section by which the item was probably suspended. These are about 7mm apart.

The gem is red in colour, possibly carnelian, with some white veins, and is slightly convex. It is held in place with a thin border of overlapping gold and measures 10 x 11mm. The intaglio is crudely carved and depicts a bird standing left (as seen), with its left wing (or possibly the plume of its tail) partly extended away from its body and a palm branch at its feet. Two lines in a V behind and in front of the bird's head may indicate a beak and possibly a crest. A crack is visible in the gem in the area of the palm branch.

Wt.: 2.10g; max. diameter 14.1mm x 13mm, max. thickness 4.7 mm.


Other similarly set gems have been recorded by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, for example LIN-F9B9C2, and LIN-47E0E2 and BUC-CE48C1 with pendant loops, the latter given a second to third century date and the former with third century parallels. An example of a gem with a crimped setting was found in the third century Beaurains hoard (BM 1924,0514.8). The position of the suspension loop at the top of the gem and not on both sides would seem to suggest that the item was intended to be suspended, perhaps as an earring. Earrings of this type are categorised by Allason-Jones as type 11, dated to the third century AD (1989, 8-9). She illustrates circular examples from Vindolanda (no. 67) and York (no. 80). The latter has a similar method of construction, although the suspension loop is attached to the back.

The closest parallel for the intaglio may be a gem from Winchester published in Henig 2007, 202 appendix no. 82, showing a cockerel pecking at foliage. This is given a tentative second century AD date by Henig. Similar designs on gems from France are illustrated by Guiraud (Plate L nos. 750, 753); she gives these a first to second century date and they are slightly less schematic in style, as is an example from a hoard found at Slay Hills, Kent in the British Museum dated to the second century (BM 1894,0803.57). The theme also occurs in intaglio's from the Snettisham Jeweller's Hoard, (Johns 1997, 93, no. 203; BM 1986,0401.203), dated to the mid-second century. The iconography may have had religious significance; the cockerel is traditionally associated with the Roman god Mercury.


Allason-Jones. L. 1989. Ear-rings in Roman Britain. BAR British Series 201.

Henig, M. 2007. A corpus of engraved gemstones from Romano-British sites. BAR 8, 3rd edition. Oxford, Archaeopress.

Guiraud, H. 1988, 2003. Intailles et camées de l'époque romaine en gaule (Territoire français). 48th supplement to Gallia. Paris, CNRS.

Johns, C. 1997. The Snettisham Roman jeweller's hoard. London, British Museum Press.


As this item is more than 300 years old and composed of more than 10% precious metal it qualifies as Treasure under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996.

Dr Eleanor Ghey

Project Curator: Romano-British Collections,

Department of Britain, Europe & Prehistory,

The British Museum

14th March 2017

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2016T1075


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 100
Date to: Circa AD 200

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 14 mm
Width: 13 mm
Thickness: 4 mm
Weight: 2.11 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 27th November 2016

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Dot Boughton
Identified by: Dr Dot Boughton
Secondary identifier: Dr Eleanor Ghey

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2016T1075

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Secondary material: Glass
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Rowley

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
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: LANCUM
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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