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Identification and Creation
Object Number
S-Shaped Fibula
Other Titles
Alternate Title: Double Bird Brooch
Work Type
pin, fibula
late 5th-early 6th century
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Britain (Britannia)
Late Antique period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Mixed copper alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
1.7 x 2.7 x 0.2 cm (11/16 x 1 1/16 x 1/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Mixed Copper Alloy
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead, zinc
Other Elements: iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is a patchwork of green, cupritic red, and black. The body of the brooch appears to have been cast in one piece with the catchplate and the hinge loop on the reverse. The pin is now missing, but the rusty remains that have built up around the hinge loop indicate that it was iron. The surface of the brooch has been extensively mechanically cleaned, carving through the green and cupritic corrosion accretions and making it difficult to determine the exact nature of the original modeling and cold working. The two openings below the beaks of the stylized bird heads were created in the wax model rather than in the metal.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)

[Joseph Linzalone, Wolfshead Gallery, Ridgewood, NJ, sold]; to the Harvard University Art Museums, 2003.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Purchase through the generosity of Mrs. Waltrud Lampé
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 S-shaped brooch terminates at each end in a stylized bird head curving back toward its body (1). Each head is shown in profile, consisting of a circular profile eye, with iris and pupil indicated, and a curved beak with a deep central depression. The curving body of the brooch is filled with short horizontal lines surrounded by double raised lines. A loop and hinge are present on the back, although the pin is lost.


1. Compare T. Brisco, “The Anglo-Saxon S-Shaped Brooch in England with Special Reference to One from Lakenheath, Suffolk,” Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society 61 (1968): 45-53, esp. 46 and 51, fig. 1.f; and R. Hattatt, Brooches of Antiquity: A Third Selection of Brooches from the Author’s Collection (Oxford, 1987) 323-24, no. 1318, fig. 105.

Lisa M. Anderson

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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