KENT-6B6481: Baldric ring of late Iron Age date

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
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Unique ID: KENT-6B6481

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

A complete cast copper-alloy late Iron Age to early Roman strap fitting, likely a baldric ring which would have been used as part of a composite belt suite used to hang a sword scabbard or a strap terret.

Description: The loop is formed from an evenly cast ring, with a squashed ovoid cross-section. There is cast integral mushroom shaped stud at the apex of the ring. The stud is roughly mushroom shaped with a thick neck and a circular convex head, which has a rosette decorative motif cast in relief on its upper surface. The ring has two additional knops evenly aligned towards the bottom of the ring, one has been worn or snapped away while the other remains and is roughly triangular in shape projecting 3mm from the ring. The loop is a patinated mid green brown colour, with heavy mottling and some surface pitting/flaking.

Measurements: Height 35mm, width 28mm (diameter of ring), thickness 11mm (diameter of apex stud) and Weight: 24.3 gms

Discussion: The exact function of this strap fastener and a small number of similar examples reported to the PAS database (SUSS-4C8491 and SUR-1920FC, being the most similar, in the former case a similar stud is present and in the latter similar lower knops). This ambiguity is discussed in a Roman Finds Group Newsletter (Minter 2004, vol. 28, 12-14). A number have also been reported from archaeological excavation with published examples are from Roman small town of Wanborough (Hooley in Anderson, Wacher and Fitzpatrick 2001, 95-96, fig 37, no. 120) and from Camerton (Jackson 1990, 38-9). Jackson believes that they could be baldric hooks or even have been used in pairs to attach a sword scabbard to a belt.

Jody Joy, former Curator of Iron Age Collections at The British Museum, has commented on another similar button loop fastener found with a simple copper-alloy ring:

"The simple belt-ring IOW-C4B3D2 (found in association with baldric ring IOW-C3C8A6) is a relatively common find of Iron Age type and was presumably used as some form of belt fastener. The buttoned-ring is less common. Two similar rings were both deposited in association with iron swords at Coleford, Gloucestershire and Owslebury, Hampshire. Both of these swords were also found with belt-rings. It is therefore probable that the buttoned-ring and the belt-ring represent the metal remains of a belt used in the suspension of a sword."

Julia Farley Current Curator of Iron Age Collections at The British Museum has suggested based on the rosette decoration that a 1st century AD date is most likely for this example.

As Sally Worrel (national Finds Advisor on Prehistoric, Iron Age and Roman Finds) has observered it should also be noted that this object shares a number of features with so called strap mounted terrets which date to the 1st-2nd century AD. A number appear to have evolved forms of the arrangement of the features seen on this object see: LANCUM-F1CDE2 and BH-7FAA17 for example.

Find of note status

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

Class: Strap-Fastener

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: IRON AGE
Period from: IRON AGE
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa 50 BC
Date to: Circa AD 200

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 35 mm
Width: 28 mm
Thickness: 11 mm
Weight: 24.3 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Jo Ahmet
Identified by: Mr Jo Ahmet
Secondary identifier: Dr Julia Farley

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Decoration style: Floral
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

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

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TQ9251
Four figure Latitude: 51.22589243
Four figure longitude: 0.74836411
1:25K map: TQ9251
1:10K map: TQ95SW
Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: KENT
Created: 5 months ago
Updated: 5 months ago

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