Ancient Roman Glass Spindle Whorl

£ 175.00

An Ancient Roman spindle whorl, modelled in yellow glass. The item features a domed shape, a hole to the centre and smooth, undecorated surfaces.  Beautiful mother of pearl like iridescence to most of the item’s surface. An interesting object, witness to daily life in Antiquity.

Date: Circa 1st-4th Century AD
Condition: Extremely fine, complete and intact. Features a beautiful silvery iridescence on the surface.


SKU: CS-282 Category: Tags: ,

Spindle whorls were useful accessory to the spindle; wool would have been twisted around the spindle then spun and left to drop pulling the fibres and creating yarn. The whorl would have been attached to the spindle helping to control the speed of the process. The weight of a whorl would determine the force applied while the diameter dictated the amount of twists performed during one spin. This technique for spinning dated from the Iron Age to the early post-medieval periods. In Roman society, women were tasked with clothing production; this has been testified by frescoes recovered from Pompeii, where women are shown hanging clothes to dry in a dye-shop.  In particular, an epigraphic inscription, dedicated to the Statlii family, mentions the quasillariae which was a group of all female spinners. Spindle whorls have been created out of many different materials: amber, antler, ceramic, coral, bone, several different metals, wood and glass, such as the case of this elegant example.

Weight 26.7 g
Dimensions L 4 cm



Reference: For a similar item, The Metropolitan Museum, item number 74.51.331