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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Leech Fibula
Work Type
pin, fibula
late 8th-7th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Etruria
Orientalizing period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Copper alloy
Cast and hammered
1.6 x 0.8 x 3.8 cm (5/8 x 5/16 x 1 1/2 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina is green with areas of red. Brown burial accretions are present. The condition is stable, although it is mineralized and fragile.

The heavier curved bow section was probably cast using a direct lost-wax process. From this casting, the spring, pin, and catchplate were cold worked to their finished shapes. There is no visible decoration of the surface.

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
This intact leech fibula was made in one piece; it has a triple-coiled spring and a short catchplate. There are incised lozenges and parallel lines on the exterior surface of the bow (1).


1. Compare A. Naso, I bronzi etruschi e italici del Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Kataloge vor- und frühgeschichtlicher Altertümer 33 (Mainz, 2003) no. 429, pl. 102; and A. Conti, “Le fibule a sanguisuga,” in Il Museo delle Antichità Etrusche e Italiche 3: I bronzi della collezione Gorga, ed. M. G. Benedettini (Rome, 2012) 79-97, esp. 85, no. 268, pl. 10.

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 Jane Waldbaum, Department of the Classics (unpublished manuscript, 1970), M66, p. 172 [J. S. Crawford]

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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