Featured Finds

A Roman Silver Denarius of Vespasian

This Months featured find is a Roman silver denarius of Vespasian found near Great Whelnetham. Our first featured find of 2023 takes us back to the 1st century AD. It is a silver Roman denarius coin found by a local metal detector user in 2019. Only slightly worn, the obverse features the bust of emperor…

A probable early medieval Knife, Ipswich

Recovered by chance by a member of the public earlier this year, this iron knife likely dates to between circa AD 500-1000. A ‘whittle and tang’ knife; this knife has a blade with a straight back and curved cutting edge. It has a long, narrow, tang which would have been attached to a grip made…

Lower Palaeolithic handaxe, Lavenham

This month’s featured find is a complete Lower Palaeolithic flint handaxe found near Lavenham, dating to c. 533,000-300,000 BC. Recovered by chance by a local metal detector user in 2016, this Palaeolithic handaxe represents one of the earliest types of artefacts found in Suffolk. Made from flint, the handaxe is ‘bifacially worked’, meaning it has…

A Post Medieval toy firearm, Beck Row

This month’s featured find is a miniature toy gun found by a local metal detector user near Beck Row in 2021. Cast in copper alloy, the object mimics a match-lock petronel firearm used in the 16th and 17th centuries. It has a flared, fish-tail butt and a rectangular trigger loop on the underside of the…

An Early Bronze Age arm guard, Debenham

This month’s featured find is a Bronze Age wrist guard recovered by a local metal detector user in 2021. Made from sandstone, the object is broadly rectangular with bevelled edges. At either end are drilled circular holes to enable fixing to the wrist. The faces have been smoothed. Broadly linear striations on both faces are…

Roman Empresses

Roman coins depicting elite Roman women were recovered from near Wenhaston by a local metal detector user in 2019. Ancient Rome was ruled by men. Under the first emperor Augustus (BC 27 – 14 AD), sweeping legal reforms prescribed expected female behaviours, promoting pietas (devotion) and pudicitia (modesty). Women had to live under the authority of…

An Iron Age Brooch, Cavendish

This complete Iron Age brooch was found by a local metal detector user near Cavendish in 2010. The brooch is decorated with a moulded leaf-shaped design and circular shaped motifs. The earliest brooches in Britain enter the archaeological record around 450 BC. This brooch type began to be produced around 400 BC and continued until…

Early Medieval lozengiform strip brooch, Ousden

This Early Medieval strip brooch was found by a local metal detector user near Ousden in 2020. Strip brooches are so named because they were made from a single piece of copper-alloy, a ‘strip’. They would have been worn as dress accessories. This brooch is almost complete, missing only the spring and pin. It consists…

Continental imitation sterling penny, Fressingfield

A Continental imitation sterling penny of Gaucher of Chatillon was found by a local metal detector user near Fressingfield earlier this year. The obverse of the coin features a crowned bust and the legend reads GALChs COMES [P]Orc, which means Gaucher, Count of Porcien. The reverse of the coin features a long cross dividing the…

Miniature Socketed Axe, Sutton

A Late Iron Age to Roman miniature socketed axe found near Sutton. In this month’s Featured Find, we take you back to 2009 when this almost complete miniature socketed axe was recovered by a metal detector user. The axe is triangular in profile and has a socketed mouth with a single transverse mouth moulding. It…

Roman silver denarius of Augustus, Ashfield cum Thorpe

A silver Roman coin found near Ashfield cum Thorpe. Recovered by a metal-detector user in 2020, this Roman coin is an issue of the first emperor Augustus, who reigned between 27 BC – AD 13. The front of the coin, called the ‘obverse’, features the bust of Augustus in profile. Augustus’ head is laureate, meaning…

Early Medieval (Anglo-Scandinavian) strap end, Great Barton

An Early Medieval strap end, found near Great Barton was recovered by a metal detector user back in 2011. This Early Medieval strap end dates to circa AD 800-900. The object is complete and consists of a broadly oval plate which tapers into what is known as a ‘zoomorphic’ terminal because it is stylised in…

Bronze Age gold ‘penannular ring’, Aldringham cum Thorpe

Recovered by a metal detector user near Aldringham cum Thorpe, this artefact was recently declared treasure at an Inquest held in Suffolk. It is ‘penannular’, meaning that its shape is the form of an incomplete ring, with a small break in the circumference. The core metal of the object is copper alloy, plated with gold,…

Three Roman rabbit or hare brooches

This week we bring you three Roman brooches in the style of rabbits (or hares) recovered in Suffolk by local metal detector users. All three are known as ‘plate brooches’ because they are characterised by a flat plate, the front face of which is usually decorated with enamel inlay. These seem more decorative and less…

Shipwreck, Covehithe

Image: The Covehithe shipwreck © Martin Knapp The remains of a ship have recently been spotted by a member of the public on Covehithe beach near Southwold, which could possibly date from the late 17th to 19th centuries. The discovery was reported to the Archaeological Service who passed the details onto the Coastal and Intertidal…

Coin of King Cnut, Ashfield cum Thorpe

An Early Medieval silver penny of King Cnut, found near Ashfield cum Thorpe. This Early Medieval penny was recovered by a metal-detector user during 2020. It was issued between AD 1030-1035. The obverse depicts King Cnut wearing a diademed crown facing left, with a sceptre in front. It reads +CNVT REX AN, meaning Cnut, King…

Early Bronze Age Arrowheads, Eye

A pair of barbed and tanged flint arrowheads have been found near Eye. These arrowheads were recovered close to one another in 2020. They are flint barbed and tanged arrowheads, so named because of the distinctive flanking barbs and central tang on the proximal (bottom) end. Triangular-shaped, the edges and much of each face have…

Iron Age coin, Campsea Ash

A plated copper-alloy Iron Age stater, found near Campsea Ashe. This Iron Age coin was recovered by a local metal detector user earlier this year. It is an uninscribed stater of the ‘North Ferriby’ form. Its obverse contains a wreath, cloak and crescents. Its reverse depicts a six-pointed star, a ‘lunate’ (crescent-shaped) horse and anchor…

Roman brooch, Lackford

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…

Garibaldi Jetton, Winston

A copper-alloy jetton depicting Giuseppe Garibaldi, found near Winston. This jetton commemorates the Italian general, Garibaldi, who was known as the “Hero of the Two Worlds”. He grew his international reputation as a liberal Republican revolutionary soldier fighting in South America. Garibaldi is best known for his contribution to the unification of Italy in 1861…

Top 10 Finds from Suffolk

1.5 million archaeological objects have been unearthed by the public and recorded through the national Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) – a staggering 81,750 of these were from Suffolk! To celebrate this monumental milestone, Anna and Riccardo from our Finds Recording Team have picked out their Top 10 favourite finds from Suffolk to share with you.…

Anglo-Saxon Brooch – Fragment Reunited, Blaxhall

A small copper-alloy fragment of an Early Medieval (Anglo-Saxon) cruciform brooch, dating to AD 500-600 and depicting a bird’s head, found near Blaxhall. The Finds Recording Team were excited to discover that this small fragment came from a brooch, which was found 20 years earlier! When looking for a parallel on the national Portable Antiquities…

Medieval Gold Florin, Suffolk

This is a Medieval gold Florin struck by the Republic of Florence between AD 1285 and 1290, found recently in Suffolk. The coin depicts on the obverse a fleur-de-lis, which is the symbol of Florence, surrounded by the legend +FLOR-ENTIA. The reverse bears the standing figure of the city’s patron, St John the Baptiste, bearded…

Prehistoric Worked Flint Assemblage, Lowestoft

A large assemblage of worked flint artefacts dating from c.4000 – c.1500 BC. A large assemblage of worked flint artefacts were reported to the Suffolk Finds Recording Team at one of our regular finds days at Lowestoft Library. The artefacts were all of Neolithic to early Bronze Age (c.4000-c.1500 BC) date and were found in…

Roman Silver Denarius, Hacheston

A Roman silver denarius struck by the moneyer Publius Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus around 50 BC, found near Hacheston. With this coin Marcellinus wanted to commemorate his ancestor Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who was a famous general and consul of the Republican period and lived between the 268 BC and the 208 BC. The obverse of the…

Copper Alloy Bowl, Creeting St Mary

A Medieval copper alloy bowl, dating from the 11th to the 13th century and found in the Mid Suffolk area. The vessel is made from a sheet of metal hammered to an omphaloid shape. It is moderately damaged on one side by modern disturbance due to deposition in the ground, but the bowl had already…

Copper Alloy Vessel, Tostock

A little globular copper alloy vessel slightly less than 4cm tall, found near Tostock. It was found in excellent condition apart from a small hole on one side of the neck. A number of similar vessels have been reported from across England and Wales, but for a long time their function remained a mystery. Theories…

Anglo-Saxon ‘Ansate’ Brooch, Thurston

A copper alloy late Anglo-Saxon ‘ansate’ brooch, found near Thurston. It has two circular flat terminals connected by a low arched bow and engraved decoration on its outer face. This example is unusual because it seems to have had a composite construction unlike others of its type. These usually have a pin attached to the…

Silver Penny of Harold I, Essex

A silver penny issued by the 11th century monarch Harold I, also often known as Harold Harefoot (he is said to have received the name for his speed and skill as a hunter). The penny survives in remarkably good condition. On the obverse we can see a classical style diademed bust of Harold facing left…

Iron Age Gold Stater, Isleham

A gold quarter stater of the Atrebates, probably dating c. 60-20 BC and found in the Isleham area, Cambridgeshire. The coin is uninscribed, bearing no name of any ruler, and is a smaller gold denomination referred to as a quarter stater. Stater is a modern name and not the name a person in the Iron…

Scandinavian Sword Pommel, Needham Market

A copper alloy gilt Scandinavian sword pommel from near Needham Market, probably dating c. 850-975 AD. This pommel is ‘zoomorphic’, with elements which take the form of animals. Its sides depict boar’s heads, showing snarling teeth and with their tusks prominently projecting. These flank the central panel on the pommel, which displays a curving space…

Iron Age Brooch, Exning

An Iron Age copper-alloy bow brooch from Exning, dating c. 450-300 BC. This brooch is an “La Tene I” style brooch. The entire object has been cast in one piece, with a coiled spring at its top and a so-called ‘reverted’ foot that turns back on itself. This example is quite plain, demonstrating only some…

Silver Penny of Alfred the Great, Exning

A base silver penny of Alfred the Great, dating c. AD 871-875 and found in the Exning area. The coin is of Alfred’s first issue, being made of a less pure silver than most other Anglo-Saxon pennies. The obverse depicts the diademed head of the king facing right, accompanied by the legend ‘AELBRED REX’ (Alfred,…

First World War Medal, Exning

A silver ‘British War Medal’ dating c. 1918-1920, awarded to one Private Harry Thomas Hogg of the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, found in Exning. Over 6.5 million examples of this medal were manufactured, the vast majority in silver. At 36mm in diameter and at a weight of almost 30g, this is a large and…

Trade Token of the Ipswich Town Corporation, Diss

A trade token from the Diss area issued by the Ipswich town corporation, dated 1670. On its obverse face the token displays the inscription ‘AN IPSWICH FARTHING 1670’ arranged in four lines, while on its reverse are the arms of Ipswich arranged within a shield (per pale, dexter: a lion rampant, sinister: three ship’s hulls).…

Silver Siliqua of Julian II, Mildenhall

A silver siliqua struck for Emperor Julian II, dating from AD 360-361. The coin depicts on its obverse face the profile bust of Julian II facing right, accompanied by the legend FL CL IVLIAN-VS P P AVG. ‘P P’ is the abbreviated form of ‘Pater Patriae’, an honorific title given to most Emperors on taking…

‘Viking’ antler comb, Shotley

An incomplete antler comb of Scandinavian type, dating to the 9th century AD. The Shotley comb is a rare survivor and represents only the third example of its type known from Britain. Manufactured from a piece of antler, it represents only one side-plate of the object, the rest missing in old damage. Decoration in the…

Medieval Silver Gilt Finger Ring, Finningham

A silver gilt finger ring dating to the late Medieval period, c. 1400-1500. This particular form of ring is iconographic, meaning that it displays artistic images strongly connected with religious belief. It is an ornate piece, manufactured in silver and then lavishly gilded so as to give the impression of being solid gold. The base…

Roman Lead Curse Tablet, Lidgate

A Roman lead alloy inscribed curse tablet from the Lidgate area, probably of second to third century date. In the Roman world, the nature of religious belief in a living pantheon of gods and goddesses with decidedly human vices laid the path for concurrent beliefs in magic, witchcraft, spells, interference of deities in the human…

Charles II Gold Guinea, Newmarket

A gold guinea struck for King Charles II, dating to exactly 1666 and found in the Newmarket area. The coin is well preserved and relatively unworn. The edge of the coin demonstrates closely spaced vertical grooves which indicates that this coin has been milled (pressed in a machine) rather than hammered or hand-struck between two…

Zoomorphic strap end, Hartest

Almost complete zoomorphic strap end in the Winchester style dating c. 900-1100 AD, found in the Hartest area. This strap end is a particularly complete and impressive example decorated in this style. It is decorate with a central plant stem sprouting leaves to either side, sitting below which are a pair of birds with their…

Medieval Pilgrim’s Ampulla, Bacton

A small vessel discovered in the Bacton area, which survives completely intact. On each side of the vessel a single lug can be seen which originally would have allowed it to be suspended or worn around the neck, a feature which is missing on most ampullae discovered in ploughsoil. One side it is decorated with…

Early Medieval Silver Sceatta, Bury St Edmunds

Early Medieval silver sceatta from the Bury St Edmunds area, dating c. 700-760 AD. This example depicts on its obverse face a plumed bird with a triple tail, its head bent down and a cross underneath its feet. The reverse face is more stylised, with a broadly rectangular ‘standard’ motif rendered alongside patterns of crosses,…

Bronze Age ‘Picardy’ type pin, Freckenham

A complete cast copper-alloy Picardy type pin dating to the Middle Bronze Age, c. 1400-1250 BC. One of the finest examples known and the third example found in Suffolk. The pin has a characteristic cup-shaped head, which may at one point have held an insert of perhaps amber or jet, and has a swollen neck with…

Roman Figurine, Fressingfield

An incomplete copper-alloy Roman figurine of the god Mercury from the Fressingfield area, dating c. 43-410 AD. The figurine survives almost entirely complete, with only its head missing in an old break. We can identify this figure as Mercury due to the objects he is carrying. In his left hand he holds a caduceus (the…

Silver Military Identity Bracelet, Mildenhall

An inter-war silver identity bracelet found in the Mildenhall area and dated to the First World War. Dated to 1935 this silver bracelet suggests that the owner was perhaps an experienced officer who had seen action in the First World War and remained in his regiment through the 20s and 30s. Though research is ongoing,…

Anglo-Scandinavian stirrup strap mount, Bury St Edmunds

Stirrup strap mount, dating between 10th to 11th century, found near Bury St Edmunds. Stirrup strap mounts were used to secure the iron stirrup on a horse saddle; the mount was attached to a leather strap from which the stirrup was both suspended and connected to the saddle. Stirrup strap mounts are reasonably widespread across…

Iron Age Coin, Debenham

Late Iron Age solid gold stater struck by the tribes of East Anglia, dating to c. 50-20 BC, found in the Debenham area. This type of coin is referred to as a ‘Norfolk Wolf’, almost exclusively distributed within East Anglia. On the obverse there is a heavily stylised wreath, with a series of uncertain motifs…

Silver Penny of Eadwald, Eye

An extremely rare silver hammered penny dating c. AD 796-798, struck for Eadwald, King of East Anglia found near Eye. This coin is only the second known example of its type – the first was discovered several years ago at Rendlesham, where there is evidence of an Anglo-Saxon royal settlement. The inscription on its obverse…

Iron Age Terret Ring, Poslingford

A Late Iron Age to early Roman terret ring, dating c. 100 BC-100 AD, from the Poslingford area. Developing in the 3rd century BC within Britain (Middle Iron Age), terret rings formed an important piece of equipment in relation to chariots and other wheeled vehicles. Usually arranged in rows of five along the yoke, essentially…

Fossilised Marine Reptile Vertebra, Haverhill

This is an unusual but fascinating object for the Suffolk Finds Recording Team, which was brought in for identification along with other metal detected finds. Though we do not routinely record natural material such as fossils onto the Portable Antiquities Scheme database, unless there is evidence to suggest that they have been collected or modified…

Medieval Enamelled Buckle, Risby

A medieval enamelled buckle and plate, dating c. 1150-1250, found near Risby. Ornate enamelled buckles and plates of this type are rare survivals. This buckle is probably a product of the then famous workshops at Limoges in France, widely known for their craft in creating both secular and liturgical enamelled metal items. The upper part…

Medieval Seal Matrix, Framlingham

A lead-alloy Medieval seal matrix dating to the late 13th or early 14th century, found near Framlingham. Seal matrices in the Medieval period appear as early as the 12th century, and were typically made of lead or copper-alloy. These earlier pieces were obviously personal commissions, as they frequently name specific individuals or alternatively have religiously-themed…

Figurine of the Virgin Mary, Eye

A medieval copper-alloy gilt figurine of the Virgin Mary dating c. 1380-1500, found in the Diss area. Prior to the English Reformation that swept away most elements of Catholicism from the 1530s to 1550s, visitors to churches would have seen painted murals, ornate stonework, icons, colourful vestments, stained glass, silver gilt communion sets, illuminated manuscripts…

Neolithic Arrowhead, Sudbury

An Early or Middle Neolithic lead-shaped flint arrowhead probably dating c. 4000-3000 BC, found near the Sudbury area. The Neolithic period (or ‘New Stone Age’) is characterised in Britain by a number of processes that seem to appear from slightly before 4000 BC. In comparison to people of the preceding Mesolithic (‘Middle Stone Age’), people…

Anglo-Saxon Girdle Hangers, Brandeston

Two incomplete girdle hangers dating to the 6th century AD, found near the Brandeston area. Girdle hangers are symbolic objects primarily dating to the 6th century AD that form an important element within the subject of Early Anglo-Saxon funerary archaeology. Manufactured both in iron or copper-alloy and likely imitating the form of keys or latch-lifters…