A few years ago, we had a couple of lovely family holidays in Northumberland, staying near Kielder Water. It was an ideal base from which to explore nearby Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman forts: Housesteads and Vindolanda. I have such wonderful memories of spending time with Younger Son at Vindolanda and I have continued to be interested in news about the place ever since. I quite recently decided to follow the Vindolanda Trust on Facebook.
As my BA and one MA are in Ancient History and Archaeology, with a particular focus on Roman Art and Architecture, I read the Vindolanda Trust’s posts about their archaeological teams and finds with great interest. Last year, one of the finds was a small silver brooch which appeared to be a stylised duck! I agreed with the many comments on the post that the museum shop should sell copies of this brooch.
This is what Vindolanda posted on their Facebook:
Posted on FB 26/10/18
Not all of our remarkable finds from 2018 have been shared on our page yet. This beautiful solid silver duck brooch was uncovered from the Severan ditch excavation back in July.
The native British design of this brooch can be traced back hundreds of years prior to the Roman occupation of Britain. Its recovery from a Roman Severan fortlets ditch shows that it was still in use at the start of the 3rd century and several other examples have come from contexts in this period from across the region. It is thought that the duck was a symbol of honesty, simplicity and resourcefulness as well as transition due to their migratory nature.
The brooch will be going on public display at the Vindolanda museum in 2019.
A couple of weeks ago, they posted that they had indeed commissioned brooches and that they were now available. This is the original find:
So, I bought one. This is the image from the online shop. I have the one in pewter…
Cute, aren’t they?
So, this is my outfit today, wearing it with Celtic style silver earrings:
- Mauve cashmere roll neck jumper – Marks and Spencer.
- Grey cotton stretch cord trousers – Lands’ End.
- Silver Celtic style earrings.
- Pewter duck brooch – Vindolanda online shop.
- Silk twilly in lilac, blue, purple, green and yellow – Coup de Fouet au Bloc – Hermès. Wrapped around the neck and tied using a MaiTai horn scarf ring.
I thought that the curves and curls of the earrings and brooch would work well with the whip curls of the twilly. It’s a shame that my hair doesn’t curl as much as it used to!
Vindolanda Charitable Trust
The brooches are made by St Justin, a jewellery company based in Cornwall. I have explored their website and they have some lovely pieces:
If you find any errors or have any additional information that I could add, please don’t hesitate to contact me.