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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Pin with Dove
Work Type
5th-6th century
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Antioch (Syria)
Find Spot: Middle East, Türkiye (Turkey)
Byzantine period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Copper alloy
Cast and hammered
15.3 x 1.7 x 0.3 cm (6 x 11/16 x 1/8 in.)
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina is a compact, well-preserved dark green. The surface is well preserved under areas of burial accretions. The object is intact. The pin was cast in its rough form and then hammered with annealing to further shape it. The surface shows tool marks from finishing. Saw and file marks show the bird was cut from a flattened section of the rod and finished abrasively. Decorative indentations were also made using a file-type tool.

Carol Snow and Henry Lie (submitted 2002, updated 2010)


Recorded Ownership History
Excavated from Antioch, sector 17-O (no. a-384-U542) (Turkey, Hatay) by the Syrian Department of Antiquities (later the Hatay government) and the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and Its Vicinity, (1935-1939), dispersed; to Fogg Art Museum, 1939.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Committee for the Excavation of Antioch and its Vicinity
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 tapering shaft of this pin is surmounted at one end by a roughly circular disc and a crudely rendered bird, possibly a dove, in profile. On the opposite end, the shaft narrows slightly to a blunt tip. A flat, shallowly incised bead is visible on either side of the circular disc. Due to its decorative elements, the pin might have been used as a piece of decoration.

Pins with bird finials are known from contexts ranging from Iron Age Iran to Byzantine Greece (1).


1. See P. Jacobsthal, Greek Pins and Their Connexions with Europe and Asia (Oxford, 1959) 261-65. For other bird-topped pins from the region of Roman Syria, see G. Ploug et al., Les petits objets médiévaux sauf les verreries et poteries, Hama: Fouilles et recherches, 1931-1938, 4.3 (Copenhagen, 1969) 72, fig. 28.3-7, esp. no. 5.

David Smart

Exhibition History

  • Antioch-on-the-Orontes: Excavating an Early Byzantine City, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library & Collection, Washington, 04/07/2010 - 10/10/2010
  • 32Q: 3740 Egyptian, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/30/2018 - 05/08/2019

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