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Image Gallery: Trove of Roman Artifacts

Leaping dolphin

roman art discovery

(Image credit: L. McLean, © Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service. CC Attribution Sharealike license )

A depiction of a "leaping dolphin." Made out of silver its eyes, mouth and fins are gilded with gold. It would have been used as a brooch, the catchplate (now distorted) and pinhole can be seen.

Leaping dolphin

roman art discovery

(Image credit: L. McLean, © Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service. CC Attribution Sharealike license)

Pictures of the leaping, gilded, dolphin from different angles. It would have been worn by a wealthy man or woman.

Finger-ring

roman art discovery

(Image credit: C. Burrill; © Derby City Council. CC Attribution Sharealike license)

This gold finger-ring, discovered in Nottinghamshire, is made of 90-93 percent gold and has incised decorations and a tiny oval gem at center.

Gold finger

roman art discovery

(Image credit: C. Burrill; © Derby City Council. CC Attribution Sharealike license)

A view of the gold finger ring from different angles. Its diameter is tiny and it would likely have been worn by a child or woman. It may have been given as a betrothal ring.

Young lover

roman art discovery

(Image credit: A. Daubney © Lincolnshire County Council. CC Attribution Sharealike license)

This copper alloy bust of a bare chested young man may be of Antinous, a male lover of Emperor Hadrian who was deified after he died. Only two other examples are known from Britain.

Rosettes

roman art discovery

(Image credit: R. Collins, © Portable Antiquities Scheme. CC Attribution Sharealike license )

This colorful enamel decorated object would have been used on a Roman rider's harness. It depicts intricately detailed rosettes.

Enamel bowl

roman art discovery

(Image credit: K. Leahy, © Portable Antiquities Scheme. CC Attribution Sharealike license)

Fragments of a bowl containing Celtic motifs with enamel coloring. Enamel working was popular around 1,800 years ago in Roman Britain.

Copper knife

roman art discovery

(Image credit: A. Downes, © West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service. CC Attribution Sharealike license)

This copper alloy knife handle shows a couple having sex. The man is lying on a couch while the woman straddles him, holding his feet. The man's left hand is on her left buttock. Researchers hypothesize that a knife handle like this might be used to ward off the evil eye.

Phallic symbol

roman art discovery

(Image credit: F. Minter © Suffolk County Council. CC Attribution Sharealike license)

This penis is made out of animal bone and has wings on it. Phallic symbols, including versions with wings, are commonly seen throughout the Roman Empire.

Status symbol

roman art discovery

(Image credit: . Darch © West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service. CC Attribution Sharealike license )

A gold penis pendent, the use of gold would have signified that its user was a person of status.

Exchange measure

roman art discovery

(Image credit: A. Daubney © Lincolnshire County Council. CC Attribution Sharealike license)

A grotesque head that would likely have been used as a measuring weight. Its appearance may have helped ward off the evil eye, aiding in economic transactions.