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10.07.2021

Bronze mirror

Roman, probably 2nd century AD.

Found during excavations by the archaeological section of the Winchester Museums Service on Victoria Road, Winchester, in the mid to late 1970s.

The mirror was found in a cremation burial in the cemetery at the north gate of Roman Winchester, along with another mirror, three pots, a brooch, two beads, one of glass and one of amber, and two cuffs, one of ivory with a silver ring, a model of a wheel symbolizing the Celtic god of heaven Jupiter Taranis, two glass jars for incense and food offerings in the form of pieces of pork or ham and lamb. The cremated remains were in a wooden box whose metal fittings have survived nearly 2,000 years of burial in the ground.

The handle of the mirror has a similar design to two brooches from another grave in the cemetery - opposing dragons with fused muzzles. This style of ornamentation is found mainly in the north of England, in what was then the tribal territory of the Parisi and the Brigantes. However, the simplicity of the mirror indicates a much later date than the brooches - more likely the middle of the second century than the end of the first century. Perhaps the people in the graves were relatives, but from different generations of the same family.

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