Unusual brooch from a Roman site off Denmark Road, Gloucester

Roman brooch

A few weeks ago we profiled the astounding assemblage of Roman artefacts found at a site off Denmark Road in Gloucester, ahead of its redevelopment by Redrow Homes South West. Amongst the array of finds, which included 1st century Roman military equipment and harness fittings, was this rather unusual brooch. Made from copper-alloy and decorated with cylindrical settings, our finds specialists struggled to find any secure parallels for the piece. Although its decoration has similarities with that found on some Middle Iron Age brooch types (c. 300 BC – 150 BC) its hinged pin would seem to suggest a Roman date. Sadly, it was an unstratified find so its context did not provide any clues as to its date. However, given the complete absence of Iron Age material on the site and the early Roman emphasis of the rest of the metalwork assemblage, it is possible that the brooch represents a rare 1st century type, which arrived with the Roman army at the time of the Conquest.

Philippa Walton

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