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The  Durobrivae of  Antoninus - Plate 36

P36. No.1 Brass, probably mouthpiece.jpg

Artis never completed the words to accompany his drawings. The images below include interpretations provided by modern day archaeology specialists.

Plate 36.1


Copper-alloy mouth-piece from a brass instrument.

Hemispherical cupped mouthpiece set on a tubular shaft with a narrow bore which would have fitted into the body  of the instrument.


The mouthpiece is from a Roman ‘brass’ instrument, either a tuba,  a straight trumpet, or more probably a cornu,  a large curved horn.   Both instruments were used by the Roman army and also featured in entertainment in the amphitheatre. 

An example in the British Museum  Inv1856,1226.977, is probably from Italy, part of the Temple Collection,  but examples from Roman Britain include one from Great Chesterford  (Webster 1958,  81, fig 5, no. 104; BM Inv1871,1221.1) and Housesteads, BM Inv1989,0901. These examples both have the cupped mouth-piece, and may  be from trumpets,  but the narrow bore of the example illustrated here suggests that it may be from a cornu.

Webster, G, 1958  The advance of  Ostorius Scapula,  Archaeologia 115, 49-98

A Wardle - March 2019

Plate 36.3


Copper-alloy key. L-shaped lift key with two teeth on the bit;  trace of a rolled handle at the top of the stem. 


This is a very  common type of key, more usually  seen in iron (Manning 1985, 90, and fig 25).

A Wardle - March 2019

Plate 36.5


Copper-alloy object. Length of rod or bar,  apparently rectangular in section at the upper end, possibly changing to a circular section and broken at both  ends.  Inscribed grooves can be seen spaced  along the length at regular intervals;  it is unclear whether in two instances these are paired grooves or a single groove which encircles the bar, but where the ends do not meet.


The drawing shows several circular lumps which  are probably due to  corrosion rather than to  design, although they  are slightly reminiscent of the Hercules’ club effect, seen sometimes on the decorative handles of some medical implements.  


The grooves might suggest that this was part of a steelyard arm,  but again,  they  appear to  be too irregular.

A Wardle - March 2019

Plate 36.6


Rectangular copper-alloy lock plate  with decorative roundel surrounding the central perforation; separate key-hole  appears to  riveted on.

A Wardle - March 2019

Plate 36.7


Copper-alloy fitting. Narrow strip  of metal bent to  form a binding with open ends.

A Wardle - March 2019

Plate 36.8


Copper-alloy fitting. The rectangular face has a central moulding and the whole appears to  form a narrow rectangular box.  Probably a strap fitting, for example from horse harness.

A Wardle - March 2019

Plate 36.9


Copper-alloy ink well. 


Circular canister with lid, probably an ink well, with plain cylindrical body. The top  has sloping shoulders and a central hole which  would have a hinged lid.  The sloping shoulders are unusual in  that inkwells often have a flat or recessed lid,  but Roman inkwells are found in a variety of  materials,  metal, ceramic and glass and different shapes. In 2017 Hella Eckardt catalogued nearly  500 metal inkwells from the Roman empire.


Eckardt, H. (2017). Writing and Power in the Roman World: Literacies and Material Culture (pp. I-Ii). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Eckardt, H. (2017) Literacies and material culture: metal inkwells in the Roman world [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

A Wardle - March 2019

Plate 36.10


Copper-alloy handle. Decorative handle consisting of two discs, each  with  a rivet in the centre,  linked by  a decorative strip  which  has three roundels, each  with  a raised rim, separated by bead and reel mouldings.  The handle was attached  by  means of the rivets either to  a metal vessel or perhaps more probably  to a wooden box or chest.

A Wardle - March 2019

Plate 36.11


Copper-alloy fitting. The rectangular face, very  similar in shape and size to  36.8  has a central moulding and the whole appears to  form a narrow rectangular box.  Probably a strap fitting, for example from horse harness.

A Wardle - March 2019

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