Carved bone hairpin

Roman Britain, 1st century AD
Probably from London

An accessory for the fashionable woman in Roman Britain

This long pin was designed to decorate a hairstyle like the one depicted on its carved head. Fashionable women throughout the Roman world copied the clothing and hairstyles of the Imperial court. During the Flavian dynasty (AD 69-96) elaborate styles with high fronts of false curls were fashionable. They were secured and embellished with a row of pins like this one. The ornamental heads of the pins projected above the hair. They were made of various materials, but bone was a common and inexpensive choice.

This example may well have been made in a workshop in Roman London, as there is one of almost identical appearance from London (now in the Museum of London).

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More information

Bibliography

C. Johns, The jewellery of Roman Britain (London, UCL Press, 1996)

T. Richard Blurton (ed.), The enduring image: treasures, exh. cat (British Council, 1997)

Dimensions

Length: 19.500 cm

Museum number

P&EE OA 245

BCB15988

Location

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