PAS (Portable Antiquities Scheme) Volunteers continue to work their way through literally hundreds of finds brought into the museum by responsible metal detectorists. Three ‘gems’ this week, being processed by Volunteers Jane Hanbidge, Alyson Tanner and Alix Smith, together with Finds Liaison Assistant Sohie Hawke are below

Roman Polden Hill brooch (fibula)

Found in Wiltshire, this brooch dates from c AD 75 – 175. We often have beautiful and interesting brooches but not often are they complete. This lovely item is missing only some enamel which would have been held in the triangular cells on the middle of the bow.

Some readers will know that these brooches were worn in a manner which we would consider is upside down. Thus….

They were functional as well as decorative, worn by men and women, holding clothing together, and often worn in pairs as below:

(With thanks to the Roman Finds Group)

By far the most common finds are Roman coins. This one is early:

It is a coin from the rule of Lucilla. Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla or Lucilla (March 7, 148 or 150 – 182) who was the second daughter and third child of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

A slightly (!) better example of the same coin appears here……


In the film Gladiator Lucilla was depicted as one of the most dangerous threats faced by her brother, Commodus.   She was eventually executed for plotting to assassinate him and take power with her second husband but appears on Roman coins because she was briefly, through her first marriage, Empress Consort.

Every one of these finds would have been sadly missed by its owner, not least this:

As you can see, this is a tiny toy jug from a child’s toy tea set, or possibly a doll’s house piece, about 2cm across. Provisionally identified as 18th or 19th century, it is made of lead, as many toys were, well into the 20th century. It is as beautifully decorated as a full size version would be.

You can see why we love our work!