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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Composite Fibula
Work Type
pin, fibula
second half 8th-first half 7th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Orientalizing period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Copper alloy
4.4 x 1.5 x 1.8 cm (1 3/4 x 9/16 x 11/16 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina is green with areas of black. The copper alloy portion appears to be largely mineralized but stable. On the bow, three sections of bone are partially intact, while two or more appear to have been lost. A fragment of amber (5 x 8 mm) has survived and is held in place with modern adhesive.

The fibula was formed by hammering. The bow and spring sections are rectangular in cross-section; the pin has been hammered to a round shape in cross-section. The catchplate was hammered flat and bent to receive the point. Three shallow drill hole recesses with central pin holes are located on three sides of the larger bone section. They may be decorative in their own right or they may have once held an inlay.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
The Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University (before 1970-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
The bow of this composite fibula is decorated with bone and amber beads; the remains of four beads are still present (1). Circles have been drilled out of three sides of the largest bone bead. The amber bead is reassembled from fragments. The triple-coil fibula is made from one piece of metal; it has a simple, arched bow and a short catchplate.


1. Compare H. Donder, Die Fibeln, Katalog der Sammlung antiker Kleinkunst des Archäologischen Instituts der Universität Heidelberg 3.2 (Mainz, 1994) 63-69, nos. 34-35, pl. 7; J. M. Turfa, Catalogue of the Etruscan Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Philadelphia, 2005) 103-104 and 129-30, nos. 34 and 78-79; and B. Giuliani, “Le fibule dall’età del ferro all’orientalizzante antico,” in Il Museo delle Antichità Etrusche e Italiche 3: I bronzi della collezione Gorga, ed. M. G. Benedettini (Rome, 2012) 56-78, esp. 74-75, nos. 230-43.

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

  • John Crawford, Sidney Goldstein, George M. A. Hanfmann, John Kroll, Judith Lerner, Miranda Marvin, Charlotte Moore, and Duane Roller, Objects of Ancient Daily Life. A Catalogue of the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection Belonging to the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, ed. Jane Waldbaum, Department of the Classics (unpublished manuscript, 1970), M63, p. 171 [J. S. Crawford]

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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