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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2021

John Pearce
Department of Classics, King's College London
Sally Worrell
Portable Antiquities Scheme, Institute of Archaeology, University College London


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Roman Britain in 2020
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies

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1 Worrell, S., ‘Roman Britain in 2006 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 38 (2007) 303Google Scholar.

2 For example, the highest numbers of records were recorded in the following counties: Suffolk (1,119); Oxfordshire (920); Norfolk (919); Lincolnshire (861); Hertfordshire (632); Hampshire (624).

3 Robbins, K., ‘Balancing the scales: exploring the variable effects of collection bias on data collected by the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Landscapes 14 (2013) 54–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar; ead., Portable Antiquities Scheme: A Guide for Researchers (2014); R. Bland et al., ‘The Treasure Act and Portable Antiquities Scheme in England and Wales’, in G. Moshenska (ed.), Key Concepts in Public Archaeology (2017) 107–21.

4 Moorhead, S. and Walton, P., ‘Coins recorded with the Portable Antiquities Scheme: a summary’, Britannia 42 (2011) 432–7Google Scholar; Pearce, J. and Worrell, S., ‘Roman Britain in 2019 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 51 (2020) 441Google Scholar. Hoards and important individual coin discoveries are noted annually in the British Numismatic Journal's Coin Register. PAS hoard data also continue to be used for the Oxford Coin Hoards of the Roman Empire project:

5 Pearce and Worrell, ibid., 441.

6 The following totals illustrate this diversity: Suffolk 122; Norfolk 121; Lincolnshire 85; Devon 5; Cornwall 3; with occasional exceptions only one or two Roman period finds were documented in the areas of most Welsh unitary authorities.

7 For example: Staffordshire coins 32, brooches 65; Shropshire coins 17, brooches 26; Worcestershire coins 57, brooches 26; Herefordshire coins 14, brooches 21; Cheshire West and Chester coins 8, brooches 7; Vale of Glamorgan coins 16, brooches 7. Cf. Pearce and Worrell, op. cit. (n. 4), 442.

8 The object descriptions present substantially revised versions of PAS database entries by the authors of this report, adding discussion of the form and significance of individual objects. For further descriptive detail, discussion and images the reader is referred to the online entry. Where objects are referred to with the prefix ‘Artefacts’, plus a reference number, we refer to Artefacts: Online Collaborative Encyclopaedia of Archaeological Small Finds:

9 Our very great debt to Martin Henig will once again be apparent from the footnotes and we thank him for his generosity in discussing many of the artefacts published here. With his permission we have also quoted his comments on nos 5 and 13. We are also indebted to Katharina Becker, Michel Feugère, Norbert Franken, Adam Gwilt and Richard Hobbs for commenting on objects published here and making references available, especially in a period in which restricted library access has limited our ability to put finds in a wider context or to identify comparanda. We again express our gratitude to the editor, Hella Eckardt, for her comments on a draft as well as on individual objects. Any errors are of course our own responsibility.

10 Found by K. Hopper. Identified and recorded by B. Westwood and R. Hobbs.

11 C. Johns, The Jewellery of Roman Britain: Celtic and Classical Traditions (1996) 50–2; C. Johns and T. Potter, The Thetford Treasure: Roman Jewellery and Silver (1983) 86, no. 9, fig. 11, noting also ring no. 20 (93–4, fig. 16) with a smaller emerald in a rectangular setting.

12 Trier: K. Sas and H. Thoen, Schone Schijn: Romeinse juweelkunst in West-Europa (2002) 250–1, no. 248, one emerald in rectangular box setting; Koch collection: A.B. Chadour, Rings: The Alice and Louis Koch Collection: Forty Centuries Seen by Four Generations 1 (1994) 128, no. 439, a somewhat similar hoop to the near-Bowes ring and a rectangular setting with emerald, and no. 440, four square settings, each with an emerald.

13 Guiraud, H., ‘Bagues et anneaux à l’époque romaine en Gaule’, Gallia 46 (1989) 190CrossRefGoogle Scholar, fig. 30 4h; F.H. Marshall, Catalogue of the Finger Rings, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman in the Departments of Antiquities, British Museum (1907) 139, no. 849, pl. XXI.

14 Found by B. Smollett. Identified by D.E. Foulds and recorded by A. Lipscombe.

15 W.H. Manning, ‘Industry’, in L. Allason-Jones (ed.), Artefacts in Roman Britain: Their Purpose and Use (2011) 83, with references.

16 Shouldham, Norfolk: Worrell, S., ‘Roman Britain in 2004 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 36 (2005) 463–4Google Scholar, no. 15; Eye, Suffolk: bovine (SF-A3C1A5); Beeston with Bittering: bovine (NMS–DEB0C2); West Rudham, Norfolk: avian (NMS-636F5E); Lyford, Oxfordshire: avian (BERK-8A377C); Pearce, J. and Worrell, S., ‘Roman Britain in 2017 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 49 (2018) 412–13Google Scholar, no. 11; Stoke Bruerne (Northamptonshire) (NARC-B85204).

17 Found by J. Spark and M. Didlick. Identified and recorded by A. Downes, R. Griffiths, J. Pearce and S. Worrell.

18 G. Boon, Silchester: The Roman Town of Calleva (1974) 200, 227, no. 8, fig. 35 (a reference we owe to Martin Henig); an example from Central Europe from the Pitt-Rivers Collection, British Museum (1975,0429.6); Artefacts PFI-4002.

19 Aquileia: J.B. Brusin, Inscriptiones Aquileiae 1 (1991) no. 732, monument for Lucius Alfius Statius and family; Reggio Emilia: CIL 11.961, a collective tomb including a marmorarius as one of the occupants; Pisa: CIL 11.1471, tomb for Publius Ferrarius Hermes.

20 E. Durham, ‘Depicting the gods: metal figurines in Roman Britain’, Internet Archaeology 31 (2012)

21 See also CAM-88F808, South Cambridgeshire.

22 Horse head emerging from a calyx: Artefacts CLE-4111. For large feline protome handles, see Artefacts CLE-4054, CLE-4125; J. Pearce et al., ‘At death's door: a scene of damnatio ad bestias on a key handle from Leicester’, Britannia 52 (2021).

23 Walker, S., ‘Emperors and deities in rural Britain: a copper-alloy head of Marcus Aurelius from Steane, near Brackley (Northants.)’, Britannia 45 (2014) 223–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

24 A. Esposito, Performing the Sacra: Priestly Roles and their Organisation in Roman Britain, Archaeopress Roman Archaeology 53 (2019) 37–47.

25 cf. Coombe, P. and Henig, M., ‘The Gloucester hoard of Roman bronze’, Britannia 51 (2020) 225–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

26 Esposito, op. cit. (n. 24), 67–72; Worrell, S. and Pearce, J., ‘Roman Britain in 2010 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 42 (2011) 422–5Google Scholar, no. 19.

27 We owe the following references to Martin Henig: CSIR GB 1.9.39, 9.63; RIB 491.

28 W.H. Manning, ‘The Piercebridge plough group’, The British Museum Quarterly 35 (1971) 125–36.

29 S. Roskams and C. Neal, Landscape and Settlement in the Vale of York: Archaeological Investigations at Heslington East, York, 2003–13, Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London 82 (2020) 136–7.

30 Found by M. Speed. Recorded by R. Griffiths, identified by R. Griffiths, N. Harlow and M. Feugère.

31 Another example of a Colchester brooch with a separately made foot is documented by D. Mackreth, Brooches in Late Iron Age and Roman Britain (2001) pl. 27, no. 14852.

32 Silver is occasionally used on contemporary brooches of similar form (Artefacts FIB-41377).

33 Found by A. Thompson. Recorded by R. Griffiths, identified by M. Henig.

34 M. Henig, ‘An onyx cameo from Silchester’, Britannia 26 (1995) 306–8; M. Henig and J. Plouviez, ‘The Kettlebaston cameo ring’, Bulletin of the Association for Roman Archaeology 17 (2006) 10–11 (SF9265). Martin Henig (pers. comm.) notes its similarity to examples from the Content Collection: M. Henig and H. Molesworth, The Complete Content Cameos (2018) 44–5, nos 35, 37, respectively facing left and right.

35 M. Henig, A Corpus of Roman Engraved Gemstones from British Sites, British Archaeological Reports British Series 8 (3rd edition) (2007) 179, no. 729, pl. LII; Johns, op. cit. (n. 11), 84, fig. 4.5.

36 Henig, ibid., 181, no. 741, pl. LIII.

37 Johns, op. cit. (n. 11), 49.

38 C. Johns, The Snettisham Roman Jeweller's Hoard (1997) 42, 110, nos 308–10.

39 Found by S. Hutton. Recorded by M. Foreman, identified by M. Foreman and J. Pearce.

40 S. Worrell and J. Pearce, ‘Roman Britain in 2011 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 43 (2012) 371–2, no. 15, South Oxfordshire (BERK-88AAE2), for key handle in ram's head form.

41 See J. Pearce et al., ‘At death's door: a scene of damnatio ad bestias on a key handle from Leicester’, Britannia 52 (2021) for decorated key handles. Publication of an example from Niton and Whitwell, Isle of Wight (IOW-F65D31), includes references to other PAS examples: Worrell and Pearce, op. cit. (n. 26), 431–2, no. 25.

42 Found by S. Grant. Recorded and discussed by L. Brundle and J. Pearce, with thanks to Hella Eckardt, Michel Feugère and Norbert Franken for comments.

43 N. Lenski, ‘Working models: functional art and Roman conceptions of slavery’, in M. George (ed.), Roman Slavery and Roman Material Culture (2013) 129–57. For further examples, see N. Franken, ‘Lastenträger: zum Verständnis zweier römischer Bronzestatuetten aus Ägypten’, Antike Kunst: Zeitschrift für Klassische Archäologie 63 (2020) 25–35.

44 Ville de Reims: Catalogue au Musée archéologique fondé par M. Théophile Habert (1901) 200, no. 5184; Artefacts CHL-4006.

45 Norbert Franken (pers. comm.); N. Kronberg Frederiksen, ‘Venus Priapus’, Archives of the Thorvaldsen Collection: Related Articles

46 We owe the suggestion to Michel Feugère. Anthropomorphic knife-handle types include Artefacts CAC-4010, CAC-4011, with round ferrules, albeit with longer handles.

47 Lenski, op. cit. (n. 43), 131, 145–6; fort/vicus at Rainau-Buch, for a server with bestial features: Landesmuseum Württemberg, Stuttgart, R 80, 469, published by G.E. Thüry, Amor au nord des Alpes: sexualité et érotisme dans l'Antiquité romaine (2009) fig. 15; M. Bishop, Finds from Roman Aldborough (1996) 10–11, no. 15, fig. 5.

48 P. Keegan, ‘Reading the “pages” of the Domus Caesaris: pueri delicati, slave education, and the graffiti of the Palatine paedagogium’, in M. George (ed.), Roman Slavery and Roman Material Culture (2013) 74–5.

49 R. Jackson, ‘Roman bound captives: symbols of slavery?’, in N. Crummy (ed.), Image, Craft and the Classical World: Essays in Honour of Donald Bailey and Catherine Johns, Monographies instrumentum 29 (2005) 146; PAS examples: S. Worrell, ‘Roman Britain in 2007 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 39 (2008) 365–6, no. 15; for similar hair on other artefacts, see J. Pearce and S. Worrell, ‘Roman Britain in 2016 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 48 (2017) 452, no. 21, Easton (HAMP-997D86).

50 Found by J. Monaghan. Recorded by T. Gilmore, identified by T. Gilmore and S. Worrell.

51 Martin Henig (pers. comm.) suggests this date and notes an echo of a bronze portrait, possibly Caracalla, in the Schimmel Collection from Bubon, south-western Turkey: M. Hill et al., ‘Ancient art: gifts from the Norbert Schimmel collection’, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49.4 (1992) 52.

52 P. Coombe et al., ‘A fragment of a monumental bronze statue, Lincoln’, Britannia 50 (2019) 349–59; for a further fragment, see Pearce and Worrell, op. cit. (n. 4), 459–60, no. 18, St Michael's Hertfordshire (BH-0B9D64).

53 Coombe and Henig, op. cit. (n. 4).

54 J. Joy, Iron Age Mirrors: A Biographical Approach, British Archaeological Reports British Series 518 (2010).

55 Joy, ibid., 142; M. Russell et al., ‘The girl with the chariot medallion: a well-furnished Late Iron Age Durotrigian burial from Langton Herring, Dorset’, Archaeological Journal 176 (2019) 196–230.

56 I. Leins and J. Farley, ‘A changing world, c.150BC–AD 50’, in J. Farley and F. Hunter (eds), Celts, Art and Identity (2015) 124–5. Joy, op. cit. (n. 54), 47–8.

57 Joy, op. cit. (n. 54), 64–8.

58 Langton Herring: M. Russell et al., op. cit. (n. 55), 207; Portesham: A. Fitzpatrick, ‘A 1st-century AD “Durotrigian” inhumation burial with a decorated Iron Age mirror from Portesham, Dorset’, Proceedings of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society 118 (1997) 51–70.

59 Found by G. Burleigh. Recorded by A. Cobby, identified by G. Burleigh.

60 Esposito, op. cit. (n. 24), 54–6.

61 R. Jackson and G. Burleigh, Dea Senuna: Treasure, Cult and Ritual at Ashwell, Hertfordshire, British Museum Research Publication 194 (2018) 67–8, 121–3, figs 106–7, 171–2. Vieil-Evreux:

62 Jackson and Burleigh, ibid., 215.

63 Found by T. McLenahan. Recorded by A. Marsden.

64 Artefacts APM-4016, including a smaller mount (45.8 mm wide) documented from Bobbington, Staffordshire (WAW-86B089).

65 J. Krier, ‘Romains et Francs à Helmsange’, in 150 Joer Gemeng Walfer 1851–2000 2 (2000) 334–43.

66 Found by G. Crace. Recorded and identified by G. Crace and A. Marsden.

67 For example, the Medusa mount in copper alloy from Beeston with Bittering, Norfolk (NMS-650F10): Worrell, op. cit. (n. 1), 448–9, no 17.

68 L. Allason-Jones, Roman Jet in the Yorkshire Museum (1996) 24–5, nos 1–2.

69 Martin Henig (pers. comm.).

70 M. Henig, ‘A new cameo from Lincolnshire’, Antiquaries Journal 50 (1970) 338–40; id., op. cit. (n. 35), 179–80, nos 725–31, in particular nos 725, 726.

71 Henig, ibid. (1970), nos 1–6, 15; Henig and Molesworth, op. cit. (n. 34), 183–92, nos 192–204.

72 The Cupid type is represented by a now-lost double example from St Leonards Forest, Sussex: Henig, op. cit. (n. 35), no. 736.

73 H. Eckardt, Objects and Identities: Roman Britain and the North-Western Provinces (2014) 112–16.

74 For a very well-preserved Medusa mount in copper alloy, see Worrell, op. cit. (n. 1), 448–9, no. 17, Beeston with Bittering, Norfolk (NMS-650F10). Other PAS-documented examples in a similar size range are now quite numerous, some well-preserved examples being: Denton with Wootton, Kent (KENT-16B759); Acton, Cheshire (LVPL-3A0412); Elsenham, Essex (ESS-9F6707).

75 Found by K. Henley. Recorded by S. Flynn, identified by M. Henig.

76 M. Henig, ‘Intaglios’, in P. Crummy, Excavations at Culver Street, the Gilberd School and Other Sites in Colchester 1971–85, Colchester Archaeological Report 6 (1992) 151, no. 397, fig. 5.7.

77 Henig, op. cit. (n. 35), 111, no. 157, pl. V.

78 Henig, op. cit. (n. 35), 204, App. no. 108, frontispiece, pl. XXVIII.

79 R.F. Brogli, Gemmen und Kameen mit landlichen Kultszenen: Untersuchungen zur Glyptik der ausgehenden römischen Republik und der Kaiserzeit (1996) 192, nos G219, G.222, Taf. 46–7.

80 Johns, op. cit. (n. 11), 63, fig. 3.24.

81 Johns, op. cit. (n. 11), 58, fig. 3.18.

82 Marshall, op. cit. (n. 13), 92, no. 540, pl. XV.

83 Sas and Thoen, op. cit. (n. 12), 239, no. 222.

84 M. Henig, ‘Continuity and change in the design of Roman jewellery’, in A. King and M. Henig (eds), The Roman West in the Third Century: Contributions from Archaeology and History, British Archaeological Reports International Series 109 (1981) 127–43, no. 2, pl. 8.1.

85 Found by E. Robinson. Recorded and identified by A. Brown.

86 Durham, op. cit. (n. 20), 3.30; M. Fittock, Fragile Gods: Ceramic Figurines in Roman Britain, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Reading (2017); CSIR GB 1.10.76–7.

87 Found by N. Cox. Recorded and identified by M. Fittock, with thanks to Katharina Becker for discussion.

88 Dunning, G.C., ‘The swan's-neck and ring-headed pins of the Early Iron Age in Britain’, Archaeological Journal 91 (1934) 269–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Becker, K., ‘Iron Age ring-headed pins in Ireland and Britain and on the Continent’, Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt 38 (2008) 513–20Google Scholar; Becker, K. and Channing, J., ‘The Iron Age ringheaded pin from Rochfort Demesne, Co. Westmeath’, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 137 (2007) 49Google Scholar, giving a date span for the pins to the end of the pre-Roman Iron Age.

89 For a summary of decoration, see Dunning, ibid., 274. K. Becker and A. Lamb are preparing a synthetic publication of swan-necked and ring-headed pins.

90 Found by S. Clarke. Recorded by E. Caswell, identified by M. Henig, S. Worrell and P. Smither.

91 For example, the bronze coiffure from Wormrath, Rheinland-Pfalz: F. Willer and R. Meijers, ‘Hightech trifft Antike: römischen Bronzegießern auf der Spur’, in Gebrochener Glanz: römische Großbronzen am UNESCO-Welterbe Limes (2014) 170, fig. 2.

92 For decorated PAS steelyard weights, see Pearce and Worrell, op. cit. (n. 4), 467–8, no. 25.

93 Found by W. Thompson. Recorded by W. Thompson, identified by W. Thompson and J. Ahmet.

94 Durham, op. cit. (n. 20), 3.15. For more recent discoveries, see Pearce and Worrell, op. cit. (n. 16), 414–15, no. 13, Mercury from Crowmarsh.

95 Found by G. Harfleet. Recorded and identified by S. Maslin.

96 M. Cadario, La Corazza di Alessandro: loricati di tipo ellenistico dal IV secolo a.C. al II d.C. (2004) 144–52.

97 Durham, op. cit. (n. 20), 3.14; Worrell, S. and Pearce, J., ‘Roman Britain in 2012 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 54 (2013) 354Google Scholar, no. 7 (Wrawby), 364–5, no. 19 (Stanstead Abbotts); Earith: British Museum 1871.0601.1.

98 Found by D. Carton. Recorded and identified by K. Hinds and S. Maslin. The following description provides a short provisional summary of this complex group, in anticipation of further work on the objects and their find-spot. The reference numbers are those used in the online record, with numbers related to the bits referring to the individual pairings of rein ring and side link. We are indebted to Adam Gwilt for his observations which we have incorporated into the discussion, in particular on the possible date for the group.

99 N. Palk, Iron Age Bridle Bits from Britain (1984) 3.

100 Palk, ibid., 72–4; M.G. Spratling, Southern British Decorated Bronzes of the Late Pre-Roman Iron Age, unpublished PhD thesis, University of London (1972) 1.94.

101 As illustrated, for example, in a reconstruction drawing of the Burrough Hill chariot fittings: J. Farley et al., ‘Burnt offerings: investigating the Burrough Hill hoard’, Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society 91 (2017) 106, fig. 7.

102 Farley et al., ibid., 107–15; C. Gosden and D. Garrow, Technologies of Enchantment (2012) 281–5.

103 Gosden and Garrow, ibid., 179–83.

104 Spratling, op. cit. (n. 100), 58–60; Palk, op. cit. (n. 99), 60–3; A. Lewis, Iron Age and Roman-Era Vehicle Terrets from Western and Central Britain: An Interpretive Study, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Leicester (2015) 121.

105 Found by R. Lasocha. Recorded by R. Trevaskus, identified by R. Trevaskus and S. Worrell.

106 Durham, op. cit. (n. 20), 3.31, Venus.

107 Pearce, J. and Worrell, S., ‘Roman Britain in 2015 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 47 (2016) 387–8Google Scholar, no. 26.

108 Worrell, S. and Pearce, J., ‘Roman Britain in 2013 II. Finds reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme’, Britannia 45 (2014) 412–13Google Scholar, no. 14.

109 M. Fittock, ‘More than just love and sex: Venus figurines in Roman Britain’, in T. Ivleva and R. Collins (eds), UnRoman Sex: Gender, Sexuality and Lovemaking in the Roman Provinces and Frontiers (2020) 54–89.

110 Found by J. Claydon. Recorded by E. Rowland, identified by C. Rangel de Lima and J. Pearce.

111 For other mounts with hooded figures, see Pearce and Worrell, op. cit. (n. 107), 378–9, no. 17, Hintlesham, Suffolk.

112 Found by C. Denney, identified and recorded by K. Adams and R. Ellis.

113 Aldborough, North Yorkshire: Bishop, op. cit. (n. 47), 92–3, no. 589, fig. 49; London: E.M. Jope, Early Celtic Art in the British Isles (2000) 265, pl. 161, x.

114 Durham, op. cit. (n. 20), 3.35.

115 Found by G. Batchelor. Recorded by J. Hanbidge.

116 Artefacts FIB-41566.