Wirral Brooch

The new season is upon us, and thanks to a very understanding wife, and some surprisingly clement weather I have been visiting my two Roman sites.

The site in Harlton has been harvested but not ploughed or harrowed, however that hasn’t stopped me picking up a few Roman grots and an absolutely beautiful Wirral Brooch:

What a beauty eh?

The Wirral brooch is a type of Roman bow brooch found mainly on the Wirral peninsula in the North West of Britain. First noted in 1999 by Philpott, it is a distinctive type both stylistically and geographically. There are 102 brooches known plus another 10 variants.

  • A head-loop
  • A stepped head – often decorated or enamelled
  • A rectangular panel with 3 strips infilled with enamel in alternate colours on the upper bow
  • A stud/boss at the waist of the brooch
  • Steep profile to the bow
  • Disc-shaped moulding on the foot
  • The catchplate usually stops before the foot
You can read a lot more about them here.
The nice thing about my brooch, which is similar to the brooches I have found on my other Roman site in Gt Eversden, is the fact that they drag the settlement date down from the mid 4th century (by coinage and pottery evidence) to the late first to mid second.
Now why would that be?
Why does this brooch appear amongst an assemblage of 3rd-4th century pottery – well there could be a number of reasons:
  • The brooch is an heirloom, kept in the family and lost a century later when the pin broke
  • The site was in fact being occupied in the late first early second century, but this is the only evidence discovered to date
  • The brooch represents a stray find
Until I discover more artefacts and coinage from the site no one can be sure, however it certainly makes a beautiful addition to my collection.
The fact that the brooch was manufactured in the Wirral area and made its way either by trade or by personal means also paints a wonderful story….traded, lost by a Roman Scouser, a gift from a military man to Harlton sweet heart? No one will know, but to hold it after nearly two thousand years is a wonderful experience…

4 thoughts on “Wirral Brooch

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    1. Wow – thats pretty far North Kenny – did you see the article about the brooches and their distribution? – I think you have the furthest North and I have the furthest South…Thanks for getting in touch!

    1. I don’t think you can add a pic to my blog – but if you send it to me I can upload it for you…
      Alternatively take a look at http://www.ukdfd.co.uk/ and create an account there and upload your photo – they will validate the find for you.


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