Roman brooch, Lackford

A copper-alloy Roman zoomorphic plate brooch

A copper-alloy Roman zoomorphic plate brooch, found near Lackford.

This zoomorphic brooch was recovered by a local metal detector user earlier this year. The term ‘zoomorphic’ is used to signify animal representation. In this case, it is something of a misnomer because the creature is mythological. It is the ‘hippocamp’, coming from the Greek words for horse and sea-monster. It has the upper body of a horse and the lower body of a fish. It frequently appears in Roman iconography, with a fine example depicted on a mosaic unearthed near the large temple and bath complex at Bath, Somerset.

The brooch’s front face contains a lozenge-shaped panel inlaid with blue enamel. Plate brooches with enamelled surfaces emerged towards the end of the first century AD. Set within this panel are three circular spots filled with orange enamel, laid out in a triangle shape. Enamelled circular spots are a feature of continental plate brooches rather than locally-produced forms. The presence of the brooch in Suffolk tells us that communities across the Empire were trading and using items of dress with a shared visual vocabulary.

View the full record on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database

Thank you to the finder for allowing this object to be featured.

This find was recorded by the Suffolk Finds Recording Team, supported by the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

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