Dimensions and parts of pins

Pins covers all types, such as hair or dress pin. Head shapes are globular, globular with a flattened top, polyhedral, and bi-conical. These are not definitive, but generally describe most. Shafts generally have rounded or lozenge shaped cross-sections. Metal pins are common on the database, but you also find pins of other material, such as bone.

Roman pins can be short and chunky and have no collar. They have globular, faceted or miscellaneous heads.

Early Medieval pins are generally more ornate and usually have a collar. Shafts are circular and can have thicker sections. There are also pins with flat, plate-like heads. Early Medieval pins can be engraved with linear spirals or ring and dot decoration. Could also be decorated with filigree.

Medieval pins can be difficult to tell apart from others as they tend to be a bit plainer. Wire wound head pins appear in the Medieval period and continue to the 19th century.

Post Medieval pins can be ornate and can be made in silver or gold. Filigree of this date can be confused with Early Medieval work. They can be spherical or have a coned shaped lower half.

Example description

An incomplete Early Medieval cast copper alloy pin. The pin has a biconical head, with wide collar just under the head. There is no decoration on the pin. The shaft is circular in cross section. Only part of the shaft is present, with the break having occurred some time ago. The pin is in a good condition, with little corrosion. The pin is 20mm in length, the head has a width of 6.6mm and the shaft has a thickness of 2.4mm. Similar pins can be found on the database SF-D53334.

Example records