- Museum number
Copper alloy backing plate for military decoration (phalera). A plain circular disc of thin copper-alloy sheet. There is a pair of small circular perforations near the rim, less than a third of which survives. The adjacent area is iron-stained. Dishing of the margins indicates the face from which one of the perforations was punched. On the other (back) face has been scratched somewhat off-centre a roughly equilateral triangle, with sides (partially discontinuous) of about 70 mm. Corrosion products on both faces obscure any further markings, but filed manufacture marks can be discerned around the rim. In one area of the rim margin on the back face the corrosion products, viewed in raking sunlight, can be seen to preserve what appears to be the impression of metal sheet or foil turned over from the front face for a distance of c. 4-6 mm from the edge. A similar feature is also discernible on 1814,0705.17 and 1814,0705.19, and may be compared with the folded-over silver foil overlays which still survive on the Lauersfort phalerae (see e.g. Maxfield 1981: pi. 15b).
- Production date
Diameter: 124 millimetres
Weight: 26.50 grammes
Thickness: 0.30 millimetres
- 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