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114. ROMAN UMBONATE BROOCH (UNUSUAL VARIANT)

A scarce example of this type of umbonate brooch with three bands of enamelled cells and eight peripheral knops (one pierced). Red, blue and green enamel. Original pin. 2nd century AD (See Hattatt p.350 - 51 for similar).

A cast copper-alloy (bronze) Roman umbonate plate brooch (c. AD 100 - 200). The brooch is circular in plan and irregular in section; the reverse concave and the obverse convex. The catchplate on the reverse extends at 90 degrees. The pin has been lost. Around the circumference there are six protruding knops and two larger pierced knops. The upper surface of the brooch is conical in profile and there are three circumferential rings of triangular cells radiating from a central high relief annulet. There are raised ridges around the edge of the brooch and the central conical feature. The three rings of cells contain red and blue enamel. The reverse is not decorated. The brooch has sustained no damage in the ploughsoil other than missing the top of one of the pierced knops. It has a deep green patina across the entire surface.

Brooches are a common find on Roman sites and are one of the most popular Roman antiquities for sale to collectors. They can all be dated due to changes in fashion and thus types of brooches through Roman history. In Britain, their appearance in the archaeological record allows us to trace the spread of the Roman army and culture after the invasion in 43 AD.

In the 2nd century AD a variety of new brooch types arose which included the disk brooch. Where Bow brooches had a simple functional purpose, disc and plate brooches had a far more decorative role, in some ways resembling modern badges. It is therefore believed that they would have been worn by the wealthier parts of society who wore finer and more expensive clothing.


Condition: Excellent. Very well preserved bronze, with red, blue and green enamelled cells. Original pin. Soil remains on underside.

Dimensions: Dia. 3.5cm approx.

Provenance: Ex. UK private collection; acquired at UK auction.

Price: £60.00

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