Tag Archives: British Museum
Bronze figurine of a gladiator Roman Britain, 1st-2nd century AD A heavily-armed Thracian-style gladiator, wearing a loin cloth with protective waist-belt, and armoured guards for his shins, sword arm and shoulder. His distinctive helmet, with an elaborate crest and plume, has the visor closed ready for combat. © Trustees of the British Museum
Pig Bone Pin Viking, 11th century AD From London, England Recovered from the River Thames in 1837. The pin would have fastened a cloak at the right shoulder leaving the arm to move freely. To secure the pin firmly, a cord or leather thong was tied through the hole in the head and then wound round the pin tip in a figure of eight. © Trustees of the British Museum
The Vale of York hoard Found near Harrogate, England, probably buried around AD 927 This major hoard of Viking objects was discovered in January 2007. Its size and quality make it one of the most important finds of its type in Britain. It contains a mixture of different precious metal objects including coins, complete ornaments, ingots (bars) and chopped-up fragments known as hack-silver from Afghanistan, Ireland, even Russia.
The most spectacular single object is a gilt-silver vessel, made in northern France or Germany in around the middle of the ninth century. It was apparently intended for use in church services, and was possibly either looted from a monastery by Vikings, or given to them in tribute. Most of the smaller objects were hidden inside this vessel, which was itself protected by some form of lead container. Among the other objects are a fine gold arm-ring, and over 600 coins, some rare and unknown or relating to Islam and to the pre-Christian religion of the Vikings, as well as to Christianity. © Trustees of the British Museum
Iron spearhead with silver and copper decoration Viking, late 9th-10th century AD London, England found in the River Thames in 1848. The blade is slender and tapering, with a long socket. The socket is completely covered with rings of twisted silver, and copper wires are inlaid into the iron surface in a herring-bone pattern. This decoration is typical of the craftsmanship of the Viking smiths in Norway. One substantial rivet attached the spear head to a long wooden shaft, making an effective weapon for both hunting and fighting. © Trustees of the British Museum
Dragonesque brooch, Roman Britain, 1st or 2nd century AD The ‘dragonesque’ form of this brooch is typically Romano-British: first appearing after the start of the Roman conquest of southern England in AD 43. Brooches were not only decorative objects, but also functional fasteners – a strongly-curved pin (missing on this example) would have held a thick fold of cloth. © Trustees of the British Museum
Ceremonial bronze dirk Bronze Age, 1450-1300 BC From Oxborough, Norfolk, England, This large (28″ long and about 5 pounds) dirk was discovered with the butt sticking out of the ground. The edges of the blade are blunt and no rivet holes are in the butt for attaching a handle, indicating that it was probably for ceremonial use. © Trustees of the British Museum