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The British Museum

WAW-EC8F22: Roman Minerva spatula handle (profile, plan and reverse).

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

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Unique ID: WAW-EC8F22

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Roman (2nd to early 3rd century) spatula handle: The copper alloy handle, which has been cast is in the form of a a three-dimensional bust. The figure wears a high-crested helmet which at the apex has an incomplete ridge. At the base of the helmet hair protrudes which is defined by obliquely angled notches. The face is slightly abraded therefore detail is not visible. The neck is long and slender extending smoothly into the inverted sub-trapezoidal torso, upon which there is a Medusa aegis (bearing a worn head of Medusa). On the back of the torso two inverted chevron-shaped grooves represent the neckline of a garment. Below which there are transverse grooves which are repeated on the outer face of the handle. The lower edge is broken and abraded. The surface of the handle has a well-developed, incomplete, mid green patina.

The handle measures 37.34mm long, 12.47mm wide, 14.68mm thick and weighs 10.33g.

At the time of writing nearly 40 examples of type of spataula handle (Feugere Type 5), which depicts the goddess Minerva, have been recorded on the PAS database, including BH-6D69E7, DEN-3907E8, LIN-DD31DA, SUR-5FD708, DENO-E3C427 and BERK-15DBA0. This is the first example, recorded by the PAS, from the West Midlands.

Worrell (2008, 356-357) has discussed many of these in further detail. Their style varies, as do those illustrated by Feugere (1985), attributable to different workshops copying the overall prototype.

Nina Crummy (2002) points out that Type A5 spatula handles appear to have a mainly rural distribution, and were marketed as high quality items for the civilian population. She further points out that the handles, detached from the blade may have been recycled as votive objects after the spatula went out of use.

Worrell (2003) suggests a date of 2nd to early 3rd century date.

Feugere, M, 1995, Les spatules a cire a manche figure.

Crummy, N, 2002, Wax spatula handle from Yorkshire Lucerna Roman Finds Group Newsletter, vol 23.

Worrell, S, 2003, More Minerva bust wax spatula handles Lucerna Roman Finds Group Newsletter, Volume 25.

Worrell, S., 2008, II. Finds Reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme, Britannia Vol. 39, pp. 356-357, Figure 10.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Regional importance

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 100
Date to: Circa AD 225

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 37.34 mm
Width: 12.47 mm
Thickness: 14.68 mm
Weight: 10.33 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 5th December 2016 - Monday 3rd April 2017

Personal details

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Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Worcestershire (County)
District: Wychavon (District)
Parish or ward: Dodderhill (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SO9266
Four figure Latitude: 52.29207214
Four figure longitude: -2.11871514
1:25K map: SO9266
1:10K map: SO96NW
Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

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

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