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Identification and Creation

Object Number
P-Shaped Fibula
Work Type
fibula, pin
3rd century CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World
Roman Imperial period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast and hammered
2.4 x 5.5 cm (15/16 x 2 3/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Leaded Bronze:
Cu, 83.62; Sn, 3.76; Pb, 11.56; Zn, 0.501; Fe, 0.06; Ni, 0.03; Ag, 0.04; Sb, 0.17; As, 0.26; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, less than 0.01; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina consists of pale green and brown corrosion with a few areas of bare metal. The fibula is intact. The body was cast, probably by the lost-wax process, with the surface designs created in the wax model. The pin was made separately by hammering and attached to the body of the fibula by a thin rod that seems to have been inserted in one end of the crossbar. This inner pin may have been iron, since iron corrosion products are visible, but it is no longer magnetic. The surface shows rough finishing marks.

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 fibula has a simple arched bow, with a thin knob projecting from the head (1). The bow is faceted and semicircular in section. The pin is attached by means of a hinge at the cylindrical head. The long catchplate is open on one side to receive the pin; the top of the catchplate is also faceted and bears a raised band near the foot.


1. Compare E. Ettlinger, Die römischen Fibeln in der Schweiz (Bern, 1973) 138 (type 56), pl. 16.8-11; R. Hattatt, Brooches of Antiquity: A Third Selection of Brooches from the Author’s Collection (Oxford, 1987) 274-82, no. 1261, fig. 88; H. Donder, Die Fibeln, Katalog der Sammlung antiker Kleinkunst des Archäologischen Instituts der Universität Heidelberg 3.2 (Mainz, 1994) 134-36, no. 69, pl. 13; and D. Mackreth, Brooches in late Iron Age and Roman Britain (Oxford, 2011) 199, no. 10297, pl. 136.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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