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Carved bone hairpin


Length: 19.500 cm

P&EE OA 245

Room 49: Roman Britain

    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).

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

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


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