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Brooch with bow in copper alloy and enamel

Brooch with bow in copper alloy and enamel

Roman, probably late 1st or early 2nd century

Excavated on Victoria Road, Winchester, by the archaeological department of the Winchester Museum Service in the mid to late 1970s.

The brooch design is dominated by the motif of a large crescent moon with seven enameled circles. Although the brooch did not come from a tomb in the Roman cemetery found on Victoria Road, it is likely that it was originally used as a grave offering and was disturbed and removed later.

The circular motifs on the crescent could represent seven days (like seven suns) in a quarter of a lunar cycle. Seven is also the number of planetary births and rebirths, which in some eastern mystical religions the soul must go through before gaining immortality. Thus, the brooch could have been buried with the deceased person as an amulet.