back

THE CHORLEY HISTORICAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Notes from the Archives

Transcribed notes on ‘The Romans’ from John Winstanleys’ Diary. Donated
To our Society by Ted Unwin, a great friend of John.
 

Many thanks to Ted Unwin for providing the original diary for transcription.

1953.

The Roman era in Britain began A.D.43 and ended with the isolation of the country from the rest of the
decaying Empire, consequent upon the passing of Northern Gaul into the hands of Trans-Rhemish barbarians
in A.D . 406-410, Britain continued to be Roman over the latter event, but was harassed by foes without,
and probably by dissentions within, until the English Conquest, broadly speaking, the Roman era lasted 450
years.

The regions under cultivation were very small at the period of the conquests. In the dense forest, roamed
wolves, bears, wild boars, wild cats and other animals. As recently as the reign of Elizabeth 1st, about
one third of England was in the Primeval state of nature.

Perhaps the more remarkable changes are the configuration of the Island since Roman era. Here the sea has
receded in consequence of erosive action of the waves, or the depression of the land. What was a Roman
port may have succumbed to the encroachment of the sea, or it may be miles in land.

Londinium = London
Durovernum = Canterbury
Verolamium = St. Albans
Comulodunum = Colchester
Venta-Icinorum = Caister-St.Edmonds-or Norwich
Callera = Silchester
Regnum = Chichester
Venta-Belgrarum = Winchester
Soriodumum = Salisbury
Durnovaria = Dorchester
Isca Drumnumioram = Exeter
Aquae-Sulis = Bath
Durocorrovium = Cirencester
Clevum = Gloucester
Venta-Silurum = Caerwent
Isca-Augusta = Caerleon
Magnee = Kenchester
Viroconium = Wroxter
Rotae = Leicester
Durobrivae = Caster
Lindum = Lincoln
Deva = Chester
Eburacum = York
Luguavallum = Carlisle
Mancunian = Manchester
Corstopitum = Corbridge

Most of these towns may be considered ‘civil’ but York, Chester, Ribchester and Caerlean are Legionary
Stations and Carlisle and Carbridge, from their vicinity in the ‘Wall’ had a marked Military character.

At an early period, Colchester, Lincoln and Gloucester were Legionary Stations, but whether military or
civil all towns were planned, more or less, on military model.

In relation to lead mines the earliest dated examples show that lead working was in full swing on the
Mendips (Somerset) in A.D. 49.

Gold was obtained from quartz rock near Lampeter, West Wales.

Iron was used in abundance in the 3rd and 4th centuries.

Glass and pottery found at Wilderspool, Warrington.


ROMAN ROADS AND DYKES ect

A good example of Roman roads, or a dyke is to be found at Chats Moss, Lancashire where the whole structure
consists of a pavement of large stones, 18feet wide, a layer of sand, and a foundation of brushwood is
supported along the sides with stakes driven into the peat below.

In marshy places the road sometimes consists of a corduroy of oak logs. Such roads have been found near
Ambleside and Gilpin Bridge , Westmorland.

The Danes Pad near Fleetwood is probably a Roman footpath.

It averages 20” in width consisting of oak trees sawn as under, and laid end to end and pegged into the
peat below.

Some are 6feet high and 16 1/2 inches wide. Some have a dry good gutter each side, to carry away the rain
water, but on swampy ground it is necessary, not only to drain the aggar, but also the soil.below, so for
this purpose the ditches are made larger and deeper in hilly districts where such direct roads would
involve unpracticable gradients. They are notably winding

A Roman road consists of straight lengths forming angles with one another . These angles occur on hills
and other high landmarks namely, Danes Dyke.

A Roman Milestone is a cylindrical shaft of stone about 6feet high, but square shafts were not uncommon in
this country. They were usually inscribed.

A Roman mile was 1000 paces. A Roman foot was a trifle less then an English one, being about 11.65 of our
inches.

Principal Points of Hadrians Wall

Cats Stairs 900ft
Winshields 1230 ft
Great Chesters 600 ft
Walltown Crags 860 ft
Carvoran 700 ft
Birdoswald 515ft
Bankshead 510 ft
Harehill 426 ft
Castlesteads 177 ft
Walton 248 ft
Newton on Irthington 248 ft Stanwix 110 ft


Hadrians Wall extends from Bowness on the Solway to Wallsend on the Tyne. 73 ½ mils in length.

Hadrian made the Wall 80 thousand paces to divide the Barbarians from the Romans, it is said the Severus
had a wall built across the island from ocean to ocean, but no trace of records can be found that allude to
wall building.

Heights above to level of the sea of the principal points of the wall.

Benwell (camp) 416 fy
Chapel Hill 374 ft
Rutchester 448 ft
Harlow Hill 666 ft
Halton (Chesters) 600 ft
Wall (half mile W of Halton) 870 ft
St. Oswalds 745 ft
Limstone Corner 822 ft
Carrawburgh 785 ft
Carrawlowe 795 ft
Sewing Shields Crags 1068 ft
Housesteads 800 ft
Hotbank Crags 1074 ft


SEPULCHRAL REMAINS

Of the fixed remains of the Roman era those which relate to the burial of the dead are the most numerous

During the two or three centuries before the conquest both cremation and simple inhumation were in vogue in
England, the latter predominating in the north and the former in the south. In Yorkshire many skeletons
of this period, laid in a contracted attitude, or at full length, in cists, wooden coffins, or simply in
graves, have been found, and some of them were remarkable for the wealth of associated objects.

Of the many urn fields in the south eastern counties, one at Aylesbury was notable, the cremated remains,
all in earthen vessels were in circular holes, unmarked by mounds, and with most were associated other
vessels, several being bronze ewers and tankando being bronze, and theses, as also the smaller objects,
were of late Celtic type. In another urn field, near Hazelmere in Surrey, the Cinerarus were generally
accompanied with accessory vessels, but the pottery was of a later type and assignable to the period of the
Roman influence immediately before the conquest. In both burial grounds many of the graves were arranged in
family circles.
The graves were mostly flat, that is, they were not covered with mounds, the custom of placing various
objects, chiefly vessels of pottery and glass, with the dead, was in general, as in previous times
inscribed tombstones were common, but there absence or fewness in districts where suitable stone was not
obtainable, renders it probable that wooden memorials were also used.


In the earlier part of the Roman era. Cremation was the prevailing, if not the sole custom in the country,
but by the beginning of the 5th century it became a thing of the past.


There is the opinion that it was supplanted by inhumation in Britain, by the middle of the 4th century.

Some burials were arranged in burial rows.

As a rule, the Cinerary with its contents was simply placed in a hole in the ground and buried, but
frequently some sort of additional protection was devised. Occasionally the hole, or grave, was converted
into a small vault by covering it with a large tile or stone. More carefully made Loculas were hewn out of
a cubical block of stone with a flat stone for its cover, within which was a square glass ampula containing
the human ashes within.

An earthenware lamp on its mouth and small vessels by its side. A large cylindrical example from Harpenden
Hertfordshire, now in the British Museum, rested upon, and was covered by, two oblong blocks of stone 5feet
long and contained a glass cinerary with four other vessels found in the tomb and are called
Lachrymatories.

Graves are found under small sized mounds.

Where Roman influence was strong, the dead body, when buried unburnt, was almost invariably laid at full
length. To what extent, the Prehistoric custom of burying it in a contracted or fixed attitude passed
into Roman times, is uncertain. In some graves a coin was placed in the mouth of the deceased, as a fee
for Charon to ferry him across the Styx.

Coffins hewn out of a single block of stone were much used, especially where suitable stone was at hand.
These coffins are usually wedge shaped , sometimes they approximate to the modern form , and rarely are
rectangular, occasionally they were rounded within at the head or the foot. They appear to have always
had covers, flat, rounded or slightly cropped, and of a single piece, or several. They were usually
roughly hewn into shape and were intended to be buried, but occasionally they were carefully finished with
or without inscriptions, and more or less decorated, and these were certainly not buried.
The simplest of tombs are rectangular slabs, sometimes quite plain and panelled in front. The panel may be
rectangular.

GLASS UTENSILS.

Almost invariably, broken glass is found on Roman sites, perfect vessels are rarely found on their sites.
The majority of these in our museums have been obtained from graves, were many of them were used as
cineraries, and other as accessories, their careful burying having conduced their preservation.

The combined action of the moisture and carbonic acid, in the soil, has often rendered the surface of the
glass more or less opaque. If the action has been slight, a beautiful iridescent lustre may result,
beloved of Connoisseurs, but masking the original brilliance of the surface. In most collections some of
the glass is in an unchanged condition, and indicates the high attainment of the glassmakers of the era.

They indicate that the glass workers had command of a wide range of colours, but they seem not to have
attained to a pure transparent red. They certainly used copper, iron, manganese and antimony in their
production and probably also cobalt for some of the rich deep blues.

The vessels ordinarily met with one of the useful kind, consisting of bottles of a variety of forms and
sizes, ewers, jars, cups, beakers, saucers mostly with a bluish green tinge and highly transparent. In
the finer qualities the tinge is slighter, but absolutely colourless glass is rare. If the tinge is not
Green it is a faint Saffron or Honey colour, but nearly always with a suspicion of green. Vessels,
however, in what may be properly called coloured glass are by no means uncommon. Deep Blue and Green and
various Yellow tones, ranging from Amber to a rich Brown, being the most frequent. The vessels etc.
indicate a high proficiency in the use of the blow iron. Small cylindrical bottles are a small specimen
of a common form, which are found on most Roman sites, these vessels are of a common greenish glass, and
are mostly from about 8” to 12” in height and are needed externally.


Glass was manufactured at Wilderspool, Warrington in Roman times. Fine workshops being uncovered
containing peculiar ovens. These were singly or in pairs in the dense clay platforms hardened by fire.
Some were oval from 2’ 6” to 5’ long , having at one end a flue or stoke hole reached from the hearth and
at the opposite end, or in the side, another flue blocked at the end, in several instances, with a flag
stone. Others were simply rounded cavities with a stoke hole. It is considered that the former were
‘annealing’ ovens, or lires, and that the latter had combined melting pots. In the vicinity of these
structures were found several lumps of crude glass, glass scum calcined flint, a lump of chalk and pieces
of broken glass, all more or less confirmatory of the manufacture of glass. Also a stone slab with a
shallow recess, 12” by 8” which he regarded as a mould for window glass. To what extent glass was made in
Britain, is at present unknown. A beaker like cup from a grave at Barnwell in Cambridgeshire, and now in
the British Museum, has a singularly modern appearance. It as of rather thick glass with a faint greenish
honey tinge, and its ornamentations consist of oval depressions cut out on a lapidaries wheel. Pieces of
precisely similar cups have been found at London, Caerwent, Cellygaer, Birrens, Ardoch, Wilderspool and
probably elsewhere, as such pieces may be mistaken for modern cut glass.


POTTERY

Pot shards are found on almost every Roman site, and often in great abundance. It is an old opinion that
the potters wheel was a Roman introduction to this island, hence that “ thrown “ pottery, unless imported
was no older than the Roman era. But it is now known that the natives used the wheel for two centuries or
more before the ‘conquest’ and produced vessels of refined fabrique and artistic form.

The lustrous Red pottery, the so called ‘Samien’ known on the continent as ‘Terra Sigillata’ which was
found in considerable abundance in the country, was not made here but was imported from the continent.
It was the presence of this Red glaze which influenced the art of the local potters, whose intentions are
known as “Pseudo-Samien”


The following are some of the broader distinguishing features, there is an absence of white bodies, which
are so marked a feature in modern ceramic productions. The nearest approach is creamy Buff, but there is a
preference for colours ranging from bright Red through tones of dusky Maroons and Browns to Blacks, for the
finer wares.

Painted work is comparatively rare and is confined to simple stripes and scrolls, bold in effect but often
crudely executed. The prevailing decoration is in relief, and generally displays considerable skill and
artistic merit. Comparative few have bright surfaces, and these are, as a rule, better described as
lustrous or glossy, than as glazed. The material is earthenware, none has the hard and vitreous texture
of our stoneware and porcelain.

The forms vary considerably, there are jugs, bowls, basins, shallow vessels of various shapes which only
approximate to our saucers, plates and dishes in their shallowness or their flatness, and others of shapes
not represented in the ordinary vessels we use. The method of manufacture was simple, although hand made
pottery was used, examples have been found at Silchester, it was exceptional. Broadly speaking the wares
were shaped on the wheel, but it is probable that the finest were finished on the lathe.

The red glaze, with raised figures and other subjects was, after leaving the thrower, pressed into moulds,
and after removal, the feet were added and lastly their interiors. The feet and the external plain
surfaces and beadings were finished on the wheel and lathe, but moulding seems to have been rarely
practised in the country. The colour of the pottery depended largely on the clay used, but the potters
were adept at heightening or masking the natural colour. This was generally effected by a superficial
wash , or engole, a process well known to the mediaeval and the modern potters. A vessel of dingy red clay,
dipped, when in the ‘green’ state in a thin mixture of fine pipe clay and water, received a film, which
upon firing, assumed a delicate cream colour. By the addition of Yellow or Red ochre, or of varying
mixtures of the two to the ‘slip’, the resultant tint ranged from yellow buff to salmon or pink. But
for the finer wares there was a decided preference for a full red, and various tones of deep warm browns,
and dusky maroons and for greys ending in black on the other. Some of these were certainly produced by
the addition of mineral colouring agents to the ‘engole, but the darkest shades, especially the greys and
blacks. Are due to the presence of carbon, sometimes as a superficial film, but more often it permeates the
body as well. How carbon was introduced is uncertain, and will be referred to later.

Now and again fragments are found bearing a greenish yellow glaze , resembling that commonly seen on
mediaeval wares, and apparently produced by the same method, that is, by dusting powdered galena (native
sulphide of lead) over clay pieces before fining.

The moulds into which the decorated red glazed vessels were pressed, were of fine porous earthenware,
unglazed, in order that much of the moisture of the clay pressed into them should be rapidly absorbed, and
thus induce shrinkage and allow of the vessel being withdrawn. Other rareities of raised decoration are
occasionally seen. One may be described as finger pressed work. In this, the vessel ,or some portion of
it appear to have been coated with a thick slip which by the pressure of the fingure was forced up into
ridges.

POTTERS KILN

The remains of a considerable number of the kilns have been found in this country. They varied in shape,
size and construction, but all appear to have been on the same principal. They are subterranean
structures with their summits level with the surface, or slightly protruding. The simplest were circular,
from 3 to 4 feet or more in diameter with a tunnel-like furnace on the floor level. This, however, did not
open directly into the oven, which contained the vessels to be fired, but into a space below it with a
perforated roof, or diaphragm, to allow the hot gasses of the fire to ascend into the oven. It is evident
that these small kilns were packed with the wares to be fired, from the top, and this implies an opening
large enough for the purpose. The opening also served as a chimney, but unless restricted it would be
wasteful of heat. No doubt there was a simple contrivance for reducing it according to the requirements
of the draught, or for closing it altogether. The simpler kilns were lined with clay mixed with chaff or
grass, and often with broken pottery or tiles, to mitigate the contraction under the action of fire.

The perforated bottom, or diaphragm, was of denser clay, or of tiles specially made for the purpose, wedge
shaped, the wide end resting on a set-off, or ledge, around the interior, and the points meeting in the
centre are supported by a pier, usually projecting from the back of the structure, but sometimes isolated.
In the more elaborate kilns the sides were constructed of curved bricks cemented with clay, and the roof
of the furnace was often arched.

A group of 4 kilns arranged crosswise, and apparently fed from a common furnace pit. Many groups of this
kind have been found.
A larger kiln, of different construction, found at Radlett, Herts., was somewhat oval in shape. In the
centre was an oval pier, the space between it and the surrounding set-off, forming a continuous flue which
was arched with broken bricks, so arranged as to leave a number of openings. The floor above was of
clinkers and burnt clay laid loosely, over which was placed a thin layer of sand.

A few particulars to the packing of a kiln. It would seem that as each layer of vessels were
placed, the packers assistant followed with a layer of coarse hay or grass, upon which he laid small
pellets of clay, each being covered with hay which was turned down over the edge before the next was
deposited. Thus tier after tier was laid before a kiln was filled, the object of the pellets being to
allow the contents to be removed without the risk of breaking the pottery. He was of the opinion that the
carbonaceous colouration of the black ware was produced by smothering the kiln, that is, by closing its
orifice, at a certain stage of the firing, thus confining the carbonaceous fumes from arising from the
clay.

METAL UTENSILS

The metallic vessels of Roman Britain that have survived are of Bronze, Pewter and Silver, the first being
the most numerous, and the last the rarest, but as a class these vessels are among the rarer finds of the
era. One vessel of metal would outclass many of pottery and glass, and when worn out its metallic value
would save it from the rubbish heap. Most of the examples in our collections have been deposited with the
dead or purposely hidden. Weather beaten, or cast, these vessels indicate as a class of perfect mastery
of the metal worker over his materials. Their curves are graceful and precise and when ornamental, the
ornamentation is usually carefully and finely executed. Of the Bronze vessels, two forms are noteworthy,
the Ampula, or jug, and a pan with a straight horizontal handle known as the Patera, also as a Patina or
Patella. Both in form or decoration these exhibit little provincial influence. The manufacture of these
utensils was at Pompeii, and they exported its products to Britain and even beyond the limits of the
Empire. There is evidence that vessels of this kind were made in Britain. Two forms of Patera can be
distinguished, a shallow one with a bottom usually tossed up in the centre and the handle cylindrical and
ending in an animals head, and a deep one with a flat bottom and a wide flat handle.
Nests of these have been found at Abergele. Shallow bowls of thin Bronze ranging from 8 to 14 inches in
diameter, with or without two loof handles , were in regular use, and fine examples may be seen in Bristol
and York Museums. The handles are often slightly ornamented flat bottom trays, described also as plates or
salvers, have been sparingly found.

There is a small example in the Guildhall, with a flat engraved rim, the shoulder and edge being neatly
finished with a bead.

Bronze vessels were sometimes adorned with ‘champleve’ enamel. These were cast with sinkings to receive
the enamel . A remarkable fine example was obtained from the Bartlow Hills. It was a small globular
situla, with foot, recurved lip and a moveable handle attached by rings arising from acanthus leaves on the
side of the vessel.
The enamelled decoration consisted of belts of foliage and simple geometrical patterns in translucent blue
opaque, red and green, and the exposed bronze had been gilded.

STONE UTENSILS

The most important stone utensil was the revolving Ouren, (mota verb satilis) entire stones or fragments
of which are constantly found on Roman-British domestic sites. Although only invented two or three
centuries before our era it was already established in Britain , and probably had displaced the older
‘saddle quorm (mota trusablis) in the souther parts of the island at the time of the Roman conquest. Most
of the examples found in this country are of native stones, the old red sandstone and conglomerates, and
millstone grit being commonly used for the purpose, but the favourite material was the volcanic rock
quarried at Andernack, on the Rhine.
Stone motaro, of two forms, the tall and the shallow, were used in Roman Britain. The former resembled,
in the depth of the counties, the old fashioned brass mortars of the apothecary and the kitchen, and
externally they had, as a rule, the tapering form of a modern flower pot. Their shape and thickness
indicates that they were used for pounding rather than for mixing substances. These mortars are rather
rare. The cavity of the shallow form usually approximated to that of a saucer , but with sides curving
upwards , but not seldom the sides were abruptly vertical, and the bottom concave or even flat. Almost
invariably the rims had two or more lateral rectangular projections, or lugs, obviously to support the
vessel when set in a cavity in a table or bench. These mortars were of all sizes about 6 to 18 inches in
diameter and were various kinds of stone. They were apparently used for trituarrating powders , grinding
and mixing colours, mashing fruits and foods and other kindred purposes. As in the case of the earthenware
mortars pestils have not been found, may infer that they were of wood. Stone was also used for a variety
of other utensils and implements, as large weights, spindle whorls, quoits, whet stones, toughs, mullers,
heavy mauls, pounders, net sinkers and loom weights. Small rectangular palettes of marble, slate and
other fine stone have been found and were probably used for mixing colours and unguents.

MISCELLANEOUS IMPLEMENTS AND APPLIANCES.

Spoons (cochleare) are frequently found on Roman sites, made of bone they are generally regarded as egg
spoons. Those of silver and bronze are larger, and neither are so frequently found as the first , and are
referred to as being used for extracting shell fish from their shells. Slender spoon like objects
(ligulae) are nearly always bronze they differ from other spoons, in their narrow bowls and the expanded
heads of their stems, to serve as counterpoises to the bowls. These were probably used for taking
condiments out of narrow necked vessels and for other like purposes.

LAMPS

By far the larger number of lamps are of pottery, especially in this country. They are as a rule mounded.
The moulds were in two parts, one for the top of the lamp and one for the lower portion. The clay used
was generally of buff or red, of fine texture and covered with a ruddy or dark engobe. Many lamps bore
moulded ornamentations, and not a few, the makers names or marks.

CANDLESTICKS.

Candlesticks were made of iron and pottery.

BELLS.

Bells are occasionally found on our Roman sites. They are of cast bronze and of a small size, rarely
being as large as our table bells. The prevailing form is quadrangular with rounded corners, four little
feet and a perforated lug on the summit.

ROMAN LAMPS.

Continuing about the Roman lamps. They may be divided into two classes. The open and the closed. The
first named represent an advance on the primitive saucer lamps in having a lateral open spout for the wick
to recline in. The second, represent a further advance in being closed in above, except for a feed
hole and wick hole. In none, is there provision for a vertical wick as in the modern lamps.

The typical Roman lamp belongs to our second class. It has a circular oil container from 2 to 3 inches in
diameter with a feed hole in the top, a covered wick spout, or nozzle, that varies considerably on one
side, and usually a handle on the other side. The body of the lamp at first was somewhat globular with a
large feed hole, but before the conquest of Britain, the feed hole had become smaller and was in a large
depression (discus) which afforded the chief field for ornamentation.

The earliest handles were simple loops, large enough to admit a finger, and the latter, rounded vertical
lugs, usually perforated with a small hole . Occasionally there are two or even three or more nozzles.
Another occasional feature is a small projection on each side of the top, these are probably survivors of
smaller perforated lugs for the attachment of two suspended cords or chains, the handle serving for the
attachment for the third. Still another occasional feature is a small slit behind the nozzle, apparently
for the insertion of a pin to push forward the wick.

By far, the larger number of lamps are of pottery, especially in this country, where few of bronze have
been found . They are as a rule moulded, the mould were in two halves, one for the top of the lamp, the
other for the lower portion. The clay was pressed into the half moulds, and these being brought together,
the union of the two clays, was affected by pressure. The clay was generally buff or red of fine texture
and covered with a ruddy or dark engobe ( dipped in ochre wash).

Many of the lamps bear moulded ornamentations, and not a few. The makers names or marks (the
ornamentation) is mostly confined to the discus, but sometimes the border is as well or the border alone.
Ornamented and an enumeration of the decorative subjects will give an idea of their diversity on the
lamps, generally, Jupiter sected, Diana (bust), Silenus (bust), Venus ( standing on a shell), Victory (
several), Actaeon and his dogs, Cuipd armed, Cupid with a bunch of grapes , Sol in his chariot, Charon in
his boat , a female with torches, Busts of Empresses, a Centaur with an Amphorra, Saddled Horse, Running
Dog, Hound and Boar, Eagel, Dolphin (two), Two Birds, Gladiatorial Scenes, Crescent (for Diana), Masks
and an Eight Petaled Flower. The following ornamental borders occur: Egg and Tongue, Meander, and
Mulberry patterns, Scrollwork, Helmets, Spurs and Shields, Oak Leaf and a Wreath.

Lamps are occasionally inscribed and the most frequent inscriptions are, Acclamations and Good Wishes as
VIVAS, Long Life and AVE-ET-VALE greetings and farewell. The makers name is nearly always placed on the
bottom. There is occasionally a single letter or a wreath, or a palm, or a footprint or a wheel. Some of
these may indicate the patterns issued from pottery, others may be of the nature of trade marks , and
others again workmens marks and so on. Various types and features of lamps are still being found in our
Roman sites.

GAMES.

Various objects used in games are often found on Roam sites. Dice, identical with the modern kind, have
been found in sufficient numbers to prove that Roman Britain shared in the general passion for dice
playing. The dice were made out of Bone, Ivory and Lead. Dice boxes are rare finds in this country. So
it is probable that small earthenware vessels were used for the purpose of shaking. Occasionally discs of
glass have been found, made by pouring molten material on a flat surface. They are about ¾ of an inch in
diameter, and about ¾ of an inch thick and are of blue, some white or black usually plain, and when
otherwise, the upper surface has spots in white or red enamel. The Romans had a similar game to our
Draughts, and it is probable that these discs were used in this game.

Gladiatorial contests , combats with wild animals, chariot racing and other scenes of the Amphitheatre were
popular in Britain, as proved by the remains of Amphitheatres and their frequent delinations, or pictures,
on mosaics and pottery. Hunting was very popular, for wild animals, and hunting scenes are also favourite
subjects , inscriptions too, bear witness of this, also the bones and tusks of the wild boar and the
antlers of the red deer, which are almost invariably found on Roman sites.

Bone and bronze needles and bodkins are also found. They are, as a rule, carefully made from 3 to 6 inches
long and the eyes are nearly always in the form of narrow slats. Thimbles are also found, and combs,
along with bath scrapers and hand mirrors, locks, bolts and keys have also been found.

DRESS AND TOILET.

Examples of footwear have been found in many places were conditions have been very favourable for the
presentation of leather.

For fastening the attire, pins were perhaps the simplest and most ancient and commonest, and are found in
profusion on the sites. They are mostly of bone and bronze. The exceptional material being : Ivory,
Jet, Silver, Iron and even Glass. They are rarely less than 2 ½ inches long, or more than 6” long and
differ in ornamentation of their heads. The simplest form are of mere skewers of bone, shaped by hand and
with ill formed heads, but the majority have been turned on the lathe, and in the more elaborate, the heads
are enriched with carvings, sometimes taking the form of statuettes, busts, animals, and birds, and
occasionally those made of bronze are enamelled. Some bronze pins have glass heads, bone and ivory pins
with jet, silver and gold heads.
Brooches are also found made of bronze, silver and gold. The earliest types resembled the modern safety
pin. The second type were of the bow shape or arch, rosette, or some other geometrical or animal figure.
Beautiful enamelled brooches in various designs and patterns have also been found.

Of toilet requisites, tweezers, nails cleaners and ear picks are found in most Roman collections. Hand
mirrors, although looking-glass glass backed with a metallic film, was known to the ancients, its use was
exceptional, and no example has so far been found in this country. The mirrors found have been made of
white bronze or yellow bronze, plated with tin or silver, and were highly polished They were as a rule
circular discs with handles, and of excellent workmanship. Various engravings covered the backs of the
mirrors, and handles were also ornamental.

One form of mirror found was of a bronze medallion of Nero. Each half containing a small convex tinned
reflector. Rectangular mirrors have also been found ranging from 3 ¾ “ by 3 ¼” to 6” by 5”, which are
quite plain, and without a doubt were fitted into the lids of toilet boxes, Small ornamental caskets have
been found in the graves of women, and their scattered objects include brooches, and bracelets, and other
articles of toilet show that these boxes were dressing or trinket boxes. The bracelets most frequently
found are of two bronze wires twisted into a cable, one wire being manipulated into a small hook at one end
and into an eye at the other, the free wire being free to form a collar, or instead of this the ends may be
confined by tubular collars. Several bracelets were made of beads , one in particular of 16 blue ribbed
beads , one bead of which was found near ‘two lads’, also bracelets made out of jet.

Finger rings are of great antiquity, and were at first objects of utility, rather than of pure adornment,
being seals, adapted to be carried on the finger or thumb. Among the Romans the earliest rings appear to
have been made of iron or stone, but gold rings were early confirmed as a Military distinction, and the
privilege of wearing them
Was afterwards extended to Ambassadors, Senators and Chief Magistrates and then to Knights. Severus
conceded the right to all Roman soldiers, after which the gold ring gradually ceased to carry with it any
distinction. The devices engraved upon signet rings were varied, and included mythical subjects,
portraits, and illusions to the family history of the wearers, thus in one way answering to our Crests in
present day. Few ear-rings of the era remain, as these are mostly of gold it may be that being small and
delicate objects, those of inferior metals and alloys, have perished beyond recognition.

Glass beads of two prevailing types, cylindrical and globular are of common occurrence on Roman sites.
The ordinary cylindrical beads appear to have been made from round or polygonal tubular canes of blue or
green glass, of about the thickness of a thin tobacco pipe stem, broken into requisite lengths and rounded
at the ends by partial fusion. In a larger and elaborate variety, the cane was clothed with several
layers of different colours and the shoulders of the beads were bevelled off with a series of facets, thus
exposing the edges of the layers as a succession of zig zag bands. Some had stripes of white or yellow
on dark blue. Amber, Coral, Ivory or Bone beads are sparingly found, and those of stone are very rare.

Coins were sometimes used as pendants, and probably, also the larger and more enriched beads.

ROMAN COINS.

Burial hoards of Roman coins have been found in all parts of the country, not only in the vicinity of the
dwellings of the time, but in places remote from these, on moors, in woods and among rocks. They are
usually in earthen vessels. Sometimes in bronze or lead or in wooden boxes, and if found loose in the soil
they were probably placed in bags or wrapped up in cloth.

Numerous coin moulds have been found. They were undoubtedly used for the production of false and debased
money. They have been found in such large numbers as to suggest official connivance, or, putting it
bluntly, the Roman officials were in league with the offenders. The moulds were built up in two or three
piles or columns, in such a manner that a dozen or more coins could be cast at the same time. In making
the moulds, discs of fine clay were prepared, about six going to a pile, and between every two discs a coin
was pressed. The pile completed, a notch was cut in the side so as to expose the edges of the coin.
These were then removed and the discs were fired at a low temperature. The discs replaced, the pile was
ready for use. Two or three such piles were placed together, notch to notch, which thus formed a channel
or tube. The angles between the piles were then luted with clay, and the molten metal was poured into the
channel, and entered the cavities, which had been occupied by the coins. Most of the moulds appear to
date from the third century, a period when a large amount of spurious and loose money was in circulation

This is the end of the Roman section of the diary notes. 9.11.06. J.D.
 

back