KENT-122545: Votive hammer-headed pin

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
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Unique ID: KENT-122545

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A cast copper-alloy hammer shaped hair or votive pin, likely of late Roman date, c.4th century AD.

Description: The pin is cast and probably drawn or hammered with a round section shank, which remains 40mm long from the base of the head to the worn or broken point of the shank. The shank tapers gently from the head downwards and is slightly more ovoid in section from the top. The shank meets an integrally cast head, which is in the form of a claw hammer, with bevelled upper surfaces, a central rhomboid flat area representing the top of the haft, and a downward angled claw; the slot between the arms of the clay was perhaps curt after finishing. Slightly bent at lower shank. The object is patinated a dark brown colour

Measurements: 50.87mm long, 15.61mm wide at the head (shank mid width 2.79mm wide), 3.76mm thick and 3.38g in weight.

Discussion: A small number of miniature votive hammers / hammer headed pins are known from Britain. Four of which are recorded on the PAS: SUR-1ABAB4, SF-DCC055, PUBLIC-249B8F and NLM-F24088, a fifth published by Bird (2004, 226, No.2). These all roughly fit Cool's (1990, 168) Group 18c, which covers pins with a head shaped like discreet objects rather than figurative or animal elements.

The exact use of these objects is uncertain, although some are certainly long enough to be hair pins, however a suggestion of a purely votive use is frequently suggested and does seem to have some traction in the fact a significant number are recovered from temples and votive deposits (Cool 1990, 168). Dating for this group appears to be c.4th Century AD and comes primarily from axe-headed examples in copper-alloy from the continent or bone examples from Britain (Cool 1990, 168), an early date however cannot be discounted.

Find of note status

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

Class: Cool Group 18c

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


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

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 50.87 mm
Width: 15.61 mm
Thickness: 3.76 mm
Weight: 3.38 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Jo Ahmet
Identified by: Mr Jo Ahmet

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Kent (County)
District: Swale (District)
Parish or ward: Borden (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TQ8863
Four figure Latitude: 51.33500511
Four figure longitude: 0.69745569
1:25K map: TQ8863
1:10K map: TQ86SE
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: KENT
Created: 6 months ago
Updated: 6 months ago

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