Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Work Type
unidentified item
8th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Northern Greece
Geometric period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Leaded bronze
Cast and hammered
diam. 6.1 cm (2 3/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Tracer
Alloy: Leaded Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The surface is a beautiful smooth green patina, with some losses and deformations showing areas of bare, coppery-looking metal. Small losses have occurred to the edges and to the interior.

The thin disc was probably cast—a trace of a dendrite is visible under the microscope in the area of deformation and surface loss—and then hammered to create the thin flat sheet. The outer edge was cut by a series of punches, portions of which are still visible. The outer edge also has two opposing U-shaped notches cut out of the metal. There is a smaller circle of punched holes, some of which have caused a tear. The center of the disc has a punched hole with a smaller punched hole approximately halfway between the center hole and the inner punched circle. The reverse side of the disc features a sketchily inscribed, nearly equilateral triangle with a series of three evenly spaced and roughly parallel lines inscribed in one direction and three unevenly spaced and roughly parallel lines inscribed in another direction.

Carol Snow (submitted 2002)

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Nagler
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 thin sheet-bronze disc has several dents and gaps in the rim. There are two semicircular cutouts on opposite sides of the disc that may have been used for fastening. A circle of many tiny circular impressions surrounds a central perforation, about halfway between it and the outer edge of the object. There are a couple of missing areas at the edge of this inner circle, as well as a tiny perforation halfway between the central perforation and the circle that surrounds it. The outer circumference is marked throughout by tiny serrations.

Despite the fine quality of workmanship visible in cutting, decorating, and perforating this disc, it is unclear what function it served or to what larger object it may have belonged. One possibility is that it was part of the central ornament on a miniature circular shield. The two oval cuttings placed at 180 degrees opposite each other may also indicate, with further study, how it was fastened to another object. The circles must have been made with a compass and then accented by the tiny closely set circular impressions.

David G. Mitten

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at