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 Museum Explorer

Dress and ornament
in Roman Britain

Gold body-chain

Length: 84.000 cm (extended)
Length: 84.000 cm (extended)
Length: 84.000 cm (extended)

P&EE 1994 4-8 1

Gold body-chain

From: the Hoxne Hoard, Suffolk (found 1992)
Date: buried in the 5th century AD

This beautiful piece of jewellery was made for a very slender, and so perhaps very young, Roman woman. It is part of the famous Hoxne Hoard, treasure which was buried for safety during the final years of Roman rule in Britain, and never recovered.

The chain would have been worn over the top of the woman's robes and its gold and gemstones showed she was rich and important. At the back the chains are joined by a plaque with a gold coin. Where the chains join at the front is a setting for nine gemstones. The large central one is an amethyst, and it is surrounded by four garnets. Can you see four empty round settings? These probably contained pearls, which have rotted away over the years.