Romano-British Bronze Enamelled Sawfish-Type Brooch


A Romano-British enamelled bronze brooch of the Sawfish type, featuring the original hinged mechanism with a locked pin. To the front, the compressed tubular wings hold the spring and display a small, broken chain loop. The bow is curved in profile, featuring a protruding knob at the front and serrated sides. The flattened top is further enriched by the lozenge enamel cells, here in red, with triangular interspaces, characteristic of Sawfish brooches. To the back, the bow narrows into a circular foot knob, marked by a central rib.

Date: Circa 1st - 2nd century AD
Provenance: From a Surrey gentleman's collection (D.G.), purchased on the London Art market from ADA member, 1990s - onwards.
Condition: Good condition. The hinged mechanism is locked; the pin has been repaired.


Fibulae or brooches were originally purposed as garment fasteners in the Roman Empire. Roman soldiers especially, wore fibulae as decorative piece to keep their cloaks together.  These brooches replaced straight pins that were used to fasten clothing in the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age. Fibulae are the most common artefact-type in burials and settlements throughout much of the continental Europe. Their modern day equivalent are the trustworthy safety pin. There were a multitude of fibula designs in Roman culture, Sawfish type brooches are distinguished by a set of integrally moulded ‘teeth’ to each side of the bow, as well as enamelling decorations over the full length of the body.

Weight 12 g
Dimensions L 4 x W 2.7 x H 1.8 cm




Reference: For a similar item, please see The British Museum, item 1882,1125.1

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