LaTène

31 sf. 197 Iron. What survives is a long piece with a spring arrangement at one end. This is bilateral of four coils and the signs are that the chord lies the plane of the shank.

As such, the item should be part of a brooch of La Tène I or II type. The lack of an arc in the profile of the shank suggests that it cannot have been an early or middle La Tène I type, but it is more than probable that the bow has become distorted. The date would, in any case, be before 100 B.C.

 


197

An iron one-piece brooch of length 61mm with 4 coils and an external chord. The catch-plate is absent except for a 20mm remnant, the upper limit of which is 27mm from the tip of the flattish bow.

The next seven brooches all had four-coil bilateral springs, the first two with external chords, the remainder with internal ones.


32 sf. 336 The bow is thin and narrow with a groove down each side of the front face. The catch-plate had been framed and, on the right-hand side, another groove ran from the top corner of the piercing as far as a triple moulding, whose central element is wider than the others, across the front of the bow. The intention was to suggest the return of the foot to the collar of a La Tène II brooch.

 


336

A Knotenfibeln brooch of length 65mm. The spring consists of 2 coils with an external chord as found on only one in four examples, (Hattat's BOA). The face of the narrow rectangular section bow has a button near the top which has two flanges below and one very pitted flange above. The bar both above and below the decoration has an incised vertical groove just inside each edge for the whole length of the bow. The catch-plate is broken but would seem to have had a triangular perforation. The back of the bow is also decorated with a button but with only one flange below and none above. Hull's type 19.

 

33 sf. 223 In very poor condition with little of the original surface left, the chord of the spring had clearly been external and there is just enough present to show that there had been some kind of moulding on the bow like that on the last. Not enough is left of the catch-plate to tell whether that had been framed or not.

 


223

A La Tène III type one-piece brooch of length 41 mm having 4 coils and an internal chord. The bow is of round section with a right angle bend near the top. It is hammered flat near the foot with a small remnant of catch-plate. The pin is absent.

 

Both of these belong to a type discussed by Ian Stead (1976) when dealing with the Aylesford-Swarling culture, and the brooch types associated with that. In the present instances the chief characteristics are the thin bows, their length, when the catch-plates are complete, and the mouldings on the upper bow. Both of these have external chords and this determines their date. Both are definitely 1st century B.C. and have the slight shoulders, for the chord of the spring to butt against, to be expected on the earliest form. The later forms develop exaggerated trumpet heads completely hiding the spring from view and this is the form found in the King Harry Lane cemetery (Stead and Rigby 1989, Phase 1, G270.4; Phase 3, G124.4). Comments on the dating of the phases there, after Brooch 6, should make it clear that the present forms, even without external chords are fully 1st century B.C. The external chord is in effect a hang-over from the earlier La Tène I and II form in which the chord has moved from the position of that on Brooch 31. The date by which the external chord passes from use is not well fixed as it happened at a time when dating is vague. The Nauheim, which is a type brooch of the 1st century B.C. is also found with external chords, although the internal chord is one of the defining features of the type. The date of the earliest Nauheims is somewhere around the late 2nd century B.C. and the earliest 1st (Feugère 1985, 224-5), therefore, allowing for a certain overlap in manufacture and use in brooches using the external chord, the present examples should be earlier than 100 B.C. but may have survived in use to 75.


34 sf. 298 Only the start of the spring is present. The bow is leaf-shaped, with a groove down each side and the middle, down to the top of the catch-plate where the bow became very thin. The bottom with most of the catch-plate is missing.

This brooch is not demonstrably a Nauheim, the necessary framed catch-plate is missing. However, the design of the bow is similar to a Nauheim and the restoration of a long catch-plate such as would be found on the type would make this piece the appropriate size, but the profile may be held to be wrong. In short, if this is not a Nauheim, it is closely related. In that sense it may fall into the same class as a brooch from Fox Holes Farm which, bearing in mind the overall date of the Iron Age material, including the brooches, found with it (Partridge 1989,129,132, fig.76,5), this brooch could be as early as 50/25 B.C., but equally could run on to near the conquest in the 1st century A.D. It is unlikely to be later, as the design of the bow is excessively rare in undoubted deposits producing the generally emasculated versions of Nauheim/"Drahtfibel" origin dating 50-100.

 


298

A small La Tène III type one-piece brooch of length 55mm. It has only one full coil of the flat section spring and pin element remaining. The brooch widens to a slightly curved bow of flat section, piriform shape which is decorated with a central groove and an incised line just inside each edge. Barely visible but nonetheless possible, is a row of subtle punchmarks along both sides of the central groove. These decorative features terminate at a point 8mm from the tip of the bow which also tapers to a point, bending back at the small plain catch-plate which extends 7mm up the bow.

 

35 sf. 59 Iron. The bow is like a piece of wire and may have had a recurve in its profile. The remains of the catch-plate are not enough to show whether or not it had been pierced.

 


59

A La Tène III type brooch of length 48 mm. This is a small and very slender iron example having 4 coils and an internal chord. The narrow bow is of round section and is straight except for a 90 degree bend at the top. There is a remnant of a small unperforated catch-plate which extends 9mm up the length of the bow.

 

36 sf. 340 Very like the last, but complete apart from half the pin, here the catch-plate is solid. The square section of the spring shows that the brooch had been forged, not cast.

 


340

A La Tène III type brooch of length 54mm with 4 coils and an internal chord. The chord and coils are of flattened section but the pin is of round section. The plain bow is also of round section and is arched at the top. It then proceeds downwards in a fairly straight taper before returning forward slightly at the catch-plate junction where it is hammered flat. The catch-plate is plain.

 

37 sf. 225 Iron. In poor condition, the lower bow and catch-plate are lost. The bow, however, was obviously more like a piece of rod than a thin rectangle in section.

 


225

An iron La Tène III type brooch of length 53mm. The end of the bar is absent so the actual length is unknown. The head has 3 coils and an internal chord. The bow is of round section and is not in a continuous curve. The lower half of the bow is flatter than the upper half which is reminiscent of the La Tène II type. No trace of a catch-plate is evident but there is a very corroded stub protruding from one side of the upper bow which may be part of a returned foot / catch-plate, also in the La Tène II type tradition.

 

38 sf. 129 Complete apart from the pin, the bow has a rounded section and the solid catch-plate has rockerarm ornament along the junction of the bow and across the top.

 


129

A small La Tène III type brooch of length 42mm with 4 coils and an internal chord. The bow is curved and of round section with an unusually large, unperforated catch-plate which runs one third the length of the bow. The junction of the bar and the catch-plate is decorated with two rows of triangular punchmarks and the pin is absent. (Somewhat similar to Hattat's IARB No. 243.)

These four brooches derive from the Drahtfibel which has, as the name suggests, a rod-like bow not always significantly thicker than the wire forming the spring. None is actually an example of that type, that having a framed catch-plate and is contemporary with the Nauheim itself. The difficulty is that brooches such as these are very difficult to date when there is not decoration, Brooch 38 excepted. The use of iron for Brooches 35 and 37 is a virtual guarantee that they are pre-conquest, but no more refined dating can be offered. The three coils of Brooch 37 are of interest. Three-coil brooches of the overall family are commonest in the deeper parts of the South East. However, iron ones are more widespread and the dated ones lie in the peripheral zone: Puckeridge, 25-Claudian (Partridge 1979, 35, fig.6,3), pre-conquest (Partridge 1981, 132, fig.66,3); Maiden Castle, 25-50 (Wheeler 1943, 252, fig.85,34). Brooch 36, in copper alloy, has a profile which should be pre-conquest: brooches of this family had assumed the generally slack appearance which most display by the conquest. As for Brooch 38, the bow is much thicker than would normally be warranted on a Drahtfibel and the decoration on the catch-plate is very reminiscent of the way in which the same kind is applied on Brooch 11 and the same kind of date may apply here.


39 sf. 334 The brooch is now distorted, but had clearly had a standard Rosette profile. There is a Colchester spring system (see above Brooch 1) set behind a small and plain head-plate. The hook is very short. The upper bow is thin and wide with a sunken ridge down the middle. At the point of inflection with the foot is a piece of trimmed plain sheet metal which has been slotted over a contrived waist. The foot is narrower than the bow and completely plain. The catch-plate is very narrow with the return set parallel with the foot. The only decoration is on the bow, but the small size of the whole, it weighs only 2.4g, may have precluded any greater elaboration.

 


334

A Rosette type brooch of length 38mm, made in one piece except for the disc. The spring consists of four coils held by a forward facing hook very similar to the arrangement in the Colchester one-piece type, as are the very short wings. The bow is very twisted but doesn't appear to have been at all P shaped. It is a narrow bow with two vertical incised lines above the rosette which stop short of the head and of the rosette which is a small, undecorated, thin gauge disc. The disc is sited in the groove between two forward sloping ribs which run all the way around the bow at a waisted area. The lower part of the bow is undecorated and tapers to a point with a plain catch-plate which extends 16mm up the bow. None described in Hattat taper in at the foot except for the nearest in Hattat's BOA which is the continental prototype. The Colchester hook suggests that it is early and the plain nature suggests that it is developing not degrading. The Piddington Interim Report has one tapering in. All variations of this type, including one piece castings, have a short usage span, pre-Claudian to 60-70AD. Hull's type 25. 1st Century AD.

 

Obviously a Rosette, the chief indicators of its date lie in the separately made disc and the use of a recognisably Colchester-style spring system without a trace of a separately-made sheet cover. By the end of the 1st century B.C., the usual spring-case forged from the head of the upper bow had developed and, although the general form of the brooch appeared very much as it does here, the brooch was cast as a straight item with a disc in the middle, the whole forged into its finished shape, a separate plate being fitted under the disc to form the prominent plate familiar on the type. The present brooch is therefore two stages before this, as the cast-in disc appears before the Colchester spring system becomes modified. A view of the earliest kinds of Rosette in the King Harry Lane cemetery puts these developments in their proper context (see after Brooch 6 for comments on the dating of the cemetery). Very few were found with separately made plates fitted under the disc, none with cast-in discs alone with stamped decoration, and none with an integral spring as here. the early Rosettes in the cemetery were well represented in Phase 1 showing that by the end of the 1st century B.C. those like the present specimen, as well as the intermediate stages, had passed completely out of use. The dating of the earliest Rosettes is not yet well fixed and much depends on arguments based on the representation of such brooches on coins (Allen 1972), but Brooch 39 probably falls between 50 and 25 B.C.