HAMP-CE1119: Roman dodecahedron

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Unique ID: HAMP-CE1119

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

A fragment of Roman (AD 43-410) copper alloy dodecahedron, consisting of two complete faces and the remains of a further six (at the most, circa half of an individual face remains). All breaks are old. Each pentagonal face would have had a projecting knop on each 'corner'; only five of these survive around the two complete surviving faces.
The two complete surviving faces adjoin each other. At the centre of each is a perforation 10-11mm in diameter. The hole has a raised rim and the area around is sunken and circular in shape within the pentagonal face. A raised ring sits in the sunken area, around and closer to the perforation than to the edge.
The other faces survive as projections from each face of the complete pentagons, some as only short stubs and others a little longer. The face with the longest 'arms' enables a measurement of the central perforation at 18.3mm; this face is between the two complete faces. The face at the opposite side of the two complete faces, although only very fragmentary, allows a measurement from perforation to corner of 7.5mm, similar to that of the two surviving faces.
The surviving projecting knobs are triangular in cross-section at their bases, expanding and becoming globular over a height of c.10-11mm. They are max. 6.5-7.5mm wide.
The two surviving faces measure 29-30mm in length, from a 'corner' to the centre of a side.
The object measures 52.4mm by 48.7mm, is max.3.7mm thick and has a depth of 29.1mm. It weighs 46.79g. The metal is rther pitted and worn, a dark to mid- green in colour.

In their full form, dodecahedrons are hollow, twelve-sided objects. Where they survive in a more complete state, it is apparent that the perforations in the faces are of different sizes. Dodecahedrons are uncommon finds and appear restricted to the northern part of the Roman empire, stretching from Britain to Hungary. Not many are known from Britain and the present example appears to be one of only a few from Southern England outside of London. Only seven others have been recorded by the PAS: YORYM-41CD72, PUBLIC-959804, SUR-729950, GLO-BE1187, GLO-9EE34F, WILT-37C5E1, YORYM-E841F9. The function of these enigmatic objects remains uncertain and various suggestions have been made including surveying instruments, rangefinders, candleholders, sceptre heads or polygonal dice.

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

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
Length: 52.4 mm
Height: 29.1 mm
Width: 48.7 mm
Thickness: 3.7 mm
Weight: 46.79 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Katie Hinds
Identified by: Ms Katie Hinds

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Hampshire Cultural Trust Object Entry Form WINCM 629

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Hampshire (County)
District: Test Valley (District)
To be known as: Stockbridge

Spatial coordinates

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

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HAMP
Created: 9 months ago
Updated: 8 months ago

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