Antiquities > Other Metal Antiquities

what is this bronze small object

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Joe Sermarini:

--- Quote from: SC on March 15, 2022, 07:39:45 am ---They can really only be considered aes formatum if found in an Oscan-Latin context - i.e. central Italy 5th-3rd c BC.

By contrast they are a common decorative feature from at least the 2nd-4th centuries AD and are found throughout the Empire.

The vast majority that exist today are therefore most likely examples of the later decorations.


--- End quote ---

AEs rude, AEs formatum, etc. including these shells are also found in hoards in Spain and Croatia. Bronze of any type also traded as money weight across the ancient world. I am not sure you are correct about the "vast majority" being later decoration. Forum has sold quite a few of them and I am 100% certain they were pre-coinage, not later decorations.

If they were for applied decoration would it not make more sense for them to be hollow or hammered out so as to use less metal?


--- Quote from: v-drome on March 15, 2022, 01:17:28 pm ---If they were for applied decoration, would it not make more sense for them to be hollow or hammered out so as to use less metal?

--- End quote ---

Yes, that would make more sense, but they were not.

1st photo is the back of vine leaf decoration - Copper alloy; 48mm/56gm and big and that's heavy!
All that shiny stuff is the original Roman solder.

Over the years I have had 30 or more vine leaf wine vessel adornments (see 2nd photo for the various shapes) and only three that were shell-shaped like Vladimir's.
All of them had solder on the reverse for attaching to the vessel or bowl.

The only way to determine if Vladimir's shell is an AEs formatum or not is to clean off the reverse and look for the presence of residual solder.

Just my two cents worth.  :police:


Just an alteration to your logic.  The only way to be certain it was for a vessel is the presence of solder.

The absence of solder does not indicate it is AES formatum, it would indicate it could be AES formatum, could be for a vessel with no solder remaining or used, or could be for some other purpose entirely.


Joe Sermarini:
All (or nearly all?) the AEs formatum examples I have handled are cast with a hollow back (like the actual shells).


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