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Ballacagen bow brooch

Date made: 100-300 AD

Description: This object is the front of a brooch and was found during archaeological excavations at Ballacagen near Castletown. It is almost two thousand years old and is made from bronze and has red inlaid decoration.

Viewed from the side, the brooch looks like an archery bow and these “bow-brooches” are typical of the kinds found in Roman Britain from 100 – 300 AD. These brooches were not only decorative, they had very practical uses in keeping clothing held together!

Although this type of brooch is not common on the Isle of Man, the few that have been found indicate that the Manx people were trading with the people under Roman rule in Britain. There is no evidence that the Romans settled on Man, but artefacts like this show that the Romans and the Manx were certainly aware of each other.

It is difficult to ascribe this particular brooch to a category. It has similarities with trumpet-head, headstud and birdlip types, but does not sit comfortably in any of these categories.

Measurements: length 67mm

Materials: copper alloy

Date found: 1940s

Object name: brooch

Collection: Archaeology Collection

ID number: 1975-0114/078


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