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Author Topic: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs  (Read 226 times)

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Offline Joe Sermarini

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Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« on: December 19, 2022, 08:39:55 pm »
23.0mm and 29.3mm. They have the shape of chess pawns.  They are clearly knob handles of some sort.  They came to me as Roman site metal detector finds, mixed with a large assortment of mostly Roman bronze pieces (broken fibula, belt stiffeners, bells, rings, harness rings, pieces of bronze figures, etc.  But the lot also included some medieval and modern buttons and things. They are irregular, so not modern factory made. I do not recall seeing any Roman knobs like this. Anyone?
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Offline *Alex

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2022, 06:36:07 am »
I thought the lighter colored ones might be the terminals of a crossbow brooch. But that's only a guess.
No doubt Shawn Caza will know exactly what they are after he has seen your post.

Alex

Offline Robert L3

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2022, 08:33:57 am »
Dunno. Upper part of stamp seals? Sorta like?: https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=3234792

Calling Shawn!

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2022, 09:20:31 am »
Thanks Alex and Robert.

It is only two pieces, with two photos of the same two, so only one lighter and one darker.

I think they are too large for fibula terminals.

There is no sign of any seal on the bottom.
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Offline *Alex

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2022, 10:07:03 am »
Found this from the UK Portable Antiquities Scheme

Cruciform Brooch Head
The head can be divided into headplate and knobs. The headplate often has a slightly raised central panel and slightly thinner wings. The knobs usually consist of a base, a waist and a dome.
The two side knobs were originally functional, with drilled holes in which the ends of the iron pin bar were held. The side knobs were then fixed on to the edges of the headplate via a slot or, less commonly, a tab.
Most cruciform brooches have top and side knobs made to match. They come in two basic shapes, known as full-round and half-round. The general trend is for full-round knobs to be earlier than half-round knobs.
Normally the PAS deplores the use of an imprecise term like ’round’, but here it’s quite helpful, as full-round knobs can be circular or oval in cross-section, and half-round knobs can be semi-circular or semi-oval in cross-section. A full description, as well as the shorthand term, is therefore necessary. The attached illustration shows the parts of cruciform brooch knobs, two separately made side knobs, one half-round with a slot and the other full-round with a tab. The illustration also gives all the terms you need to describe the knobs fully.

Knobs can also be cast in one with the headplate; it is not unusual for top knobs to be cast in one but the side knobs still to be made separately.
The rest of the head, apart from the knobs, is the headplate. This is usually divided into a thicker raised central panel and flatter wings, but sometimes the headplate is just a simple rectangle.
There are often vertical lines of small stamps or punchmarks down the edges either of the wings or of the central panel – look hard for these, as they can get very worn. You can record these in the Object Description field using the words ‘stamp’ or ‘punch’ (or perhaps both, ‘stamped punchmarks’) but please also use the drop-down ‘Stamped’ in the Surface Treatment field, so that we can guarantee to be able to find all the stamped examples.
On the reverse there is usually a single pin bar lug, occasionally a double lug, and this is always set longitudinally, in line with the pin.


Maybe your knobs could be head, rather than side knobs from a brooch, some of these brooches sre quite large.

Alex




Offline SC

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2022, 11:46:36 am »
Sadly I don't know exactly what they are.

I have several and they are all way bigger than any fibula knobs.

I think they are a form of furniture decoration - and by furniture I mean the archaeological term which includes what we think of as furniture, plus chests, boxes, door fittings, etc.

Don't know if these were meant to be pulled or are just decorative knobs, stud ends, etc.

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Offline Ron C2

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2022, 12:26:48 pm »
I they were found close together, I would expect more uniformity of shape and size.  If they are all from the same object, and are this irregular, I would suspect medieval.
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Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2022, 12:34:13 pm »
Thanks everyone.

I think it is unlikely they are from the same find or object. They are from the same "bucket." Apparently an accumulation from years of uncleaned coin lots.
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Offline SC

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2022, 04:32:30 am »
These are definitely Roman.

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Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2022, 11:23:29 am »
Thanks Shawn.
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Offline v-drome

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2023, 04:02:33 am »
Lionel Holland, "Weights and Weight-Like Objects from Caesarea Maritima" #266 Chapter 10, Bronze Weights, Uncertain, lists a larger one, 44mm and 66.3 gm.  He says it does not fit any known weight system and actual use is unknown.

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2023, 08:54:22 pm »
Nice to have a reference. Thanks.
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Offline SC

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    • A Handbook of Late Roman Bronze Coin Types 324-395.
Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2023, 09:39:04 am »
They can also be found in Carnuntum Jahrbuch 1986, page 76, item # 1/85.  They are only identified as studs found in Carnuntum.

I have four of various sizes but all have signs of having iron pins in their bases so they were definitely fastened to something.

I consider them to simply be stud for furniture, box, chest and or door.  Same use but different style from the concave-top studs.

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Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Bronze "Chess Pawn" Knobs
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2023, 10:24:22 pm »
Carnuntum Jahrbuch 1986 does not seem to be linking to NumisWiki. If it is not listed, please add it or post the full title here and I will add it.
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