- Museum number
Copper alloy phalera junction. In overall dimensions, in the profile of its rear and front faces, and in the decorative arrangement of the front face, this phalera is so close to 1814,0705.9 as to be regarded as a matching piece. There are four rings on the rear face (in an arrangement that does not conform exactly to Bishop's (1988) suspension typology but is closest to his type 6a/6b). As on 1814,0705.9, stripping of the patina of the rear face has revealed evidence of manufacture which would not otherwise have been noticed - a reshaped casting flaw near the centre, and at least three more irregular-shaped blow-holes near the perimeter were patched with run-in metal of a different composition. File marks are visible at the base of the rings.
A cast phalera, with lightly convex back and shallow saucer-shaped front. Damage, corrosion and heavy, coarse cleaning have removed much detail, but the decorative scheme of the front is broadly intelligible: within the grooved rim the dished annular zone is filled with an incuse repeating stylized floral design, symmetrically disposed, consisting of four palmettes interspersed with four vine motifs. The latter comprise a pendant vine leaf set between a pair of four-fruit grape clusters. All three components are united by tendrils which, by extending to the base of the flanking palmettes, serve also to integrate the whole design. In most places the substrate brass body metal shows, but a few patches of silver-grey solder can be discerned, and just three tiny fragments of the silver foil overlay remain in position. Inlay in the punched part of the design - vine leaves, grape clusters and palmette finials - has survived very poorly. The central zone of the phalera is a flat recessed circle with a neatly-channelled border. In the centre is the shank of a small copper rivet which passes through to the back: it presumably once held a decorative stud, the head of which would have encompassed the whole of the central circle.
- Production date
Diameter: 90.50 millimetres
Weight: 113.30 grammes
- Curator's comments
- Ribchester hoard
Roman Britain, late 1st or early 2nd century AD
From Ribchester, Lancashire
This hoard of military metalwork and other itens was found in 1796 by a clogmaker's son playing behind his father's house in the village of Ribchester. Ribchester was the site of a Roman fort, and the hoard seems to have been placed in storage in a wooden box, probably beneath a barrack block floor, in about AD 120. Until then the fort had been garrisoned by a cavalry regiment, the Ala II Asturum, and the hoard, possibly the belongings of a single soldier, consists mainly of cavalry equimpent.
Most striking is the two-piece vizor helmet, which was worn in cavalry sports events (hippika gymnasia), colourful displays in which both horse and rider were dressed in elaborate clothing and metal fittings.
The perforated bronze domes to the left of the helmet are a pair of horse eye-guards, and below them is a set of highly-decorated horse brass, including (to the right of the helmet) a mount with a bust of Minerva, goddess of war and wisdom. The broken discs in the centre foreground are the remains of military awards, while on the right are three bronze pans and a pottery mixing bowl (mortarium). The other objects include parts of two saddle plates and a boar's tusk amulet (good luck charm).
- On display (G49/dc8)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number