Romano-British Bronze Bird Plate Brooch


A vibrant Romano-British bronze plate brooch which has been shaped into a bird. It features an oval shaped body, tapering into an elongated neck and curved head. The body ends with an angled tale and curving protrusions mark the bird’s feet. The tucked-in wings are depicted through the use of incised lines, creating two large cells, decorated with lapis-coloured enamel. Within each cell are circular indentations, filled with the remnants of brightly-coloured enamel. The back of the brooch is undecorated but features the original pin in its hinge, and plate catch. A wonderful example of a rare piece.

Date: 1st Century AD
Condition: Excellent. Some discolouration on the metal.


Brooches within antiquity were items used as fasteners for cloaks, trousers and other clothing items which needed to be fastened. They were the ancient alternative to zippers and buttons and were thought to be a fashionable addition to the style of the ancient Roman or Celtic outfit. There are several types of brooches found in relation to Romano-British or Romano-Celtic culture: brooches with pin hinges, spring hinges or ring brooches.

The bird brooch above is an example of a plate brooch with a pin hinge. The plate of metal has been shaped into a zoomorphic design, a bird, and then attached is a pin hinge, which with the right amount of tension was used to fasten cloaks within the early 1st century AD. Brooches as an accessory became associated with the upper class and the more elaborate the brooch the higher the status of its wearer. The zoomorphic kind of brooch was typical in the British area as many of the birds shown were either representative of native birds or of ducks.

For more information on Roman animal symbolism, please see our blog post: Animal Symbolism in Roman Art

Weight 5.98 g
Dimensions L 4.1 x H 3.2 cm





Reference: For Similar: The British Museum, London, item 1866,1203-144

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