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Metal Antiquities

Copper was shaped by hammering from earlyprehistorictimes. The Timna Valley in Israel contains evidence of copper mining in 7000 - 5000 B.C. Copper pins, arrowheads, and small personal accouterments date from this time, and it was not long until these gave way to chisels, axes, needles, and larger tools. tzi the Iceman found in the Alps in 1991, dated to about 3300B.C., was found with a copper axe.

Bronze, a harder alloy of copper and tin, was developed in Egypt during the 3rd Dynasty, c. 2650 B.C. It was commonly used from 2200 B.C. In the Bronze Age, metal vessels andstatuesof deities were introduced. Beautiful bronze animals, pins, and finials from Luristan and Amlash date to the 8th century B.C. Bronze kouros and animals are among the archaic bronzes made in Greece. From the 6th - 4th century B.C., Etruscan bronze figures included warriors, gods, and goddesses. In Egypte, the vast pantheon of Egyptian gods and goddesses were cast by the "lost wax" process. Greek and Roman vessels and bronze figures range from artistic masterpieces to utilitarian ware. Smaller bronze artifacts are also collectible - clothing ornaments, arrowheads, swords, daggers, buckles, fibulas, hair ornaments, and amulets.

Lead was used only sparingly, but was used in Greco-Roman times for weights, seal impressions, and sling bullets.

Iron was used from the 12th century B.C., primarily for weapons and tools. Due to rust, other than arrowheads and spear points, few ancient iron artifacts survive in attractive collectible condition.

Roman, Bronze Krater Handle Ornamented with Lions, c. 1st - 3rd Century A.D.

|Metal| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Krater| |Handle| |Ornamented| |with| |Lions,| |c.| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |A.D.|
Click here to see the line drawing of Catalogue des bronzes antiques de la Bibliothque National no. 1446, a nearly identical handle in the Bibliothque nationale de France published in 1895.
AM23903. Roman bronze krater handle; cf. BnF Bronzes 1446, Superb, about as made with the addition of an an attractive green patina, c. 1st - 3rd Century A.D.; 12 cm (4 7/8") tall, on the upper part, which would have been attached atop the rim of the vessel: a lion's head faces inward, its back arching above, between two lions lying in opposite directions, on the lower part: acanthus and scrolls between two snakes with heads upward, ex Griffin Gallery of Ancient Art (Boca Raton FL); $1800.00 SALE PRICE $1620.00


Phoenician, Bronze Trapezoid Cube Weight (Ayin - 21.595g), c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Phoenician,| |Bronze| |Trapezoid| |Cube| |Weight| |(Ayin| |-| |21.595g),| |c.| |7th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.|
This weight is the usual shape for the type, an inverted truncated pyramid - a cube with the bottom slightly smaller than the top. The type dates from perhaps as early as the the 9th century B.C. to the end of the Persian period. They were undoubtedly used to weigh silver bullion for transactions. Kletter lists nine weights with circle marks, ranging from 2.55g to 80.67g. Some, like ours, were incised with straight lines or punches. Most were found at Akko.
AS111486. Phoenician, bronze trapezoid cube weight; cf. Hendin Weights 245 (21.63), Kletter 2000 25 (21.17g), Hecht A 47 (20.03g), Choice, 21.595g (3 shekels?), 14.3x16.6x12.9mm, c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.; inverted truncated pyramid (a cube with the bottom slightly smaller than the top), incised circle (Phoenician ayin) on top created with a 8 short straight line cuts, ex Shick Coins (Max Shick, Israel, 2012); $720.00 SALE PRICE $648.00


Persian Empire, Samaria, Bronze 1 Shekel Weight, c. 375 - 332 B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Persian| |Empire,| |Samaria,| |Bronze| |1| |Shekel| |Weight,| |c.| |375| |-| |332| |B.C.|
According to David Hendin's, Guide to Biblical Coins, weight standard and silver content differences in the Persian Period existed as follows:
Type                      Weight    AR %    AR g
Edomite Sheqel    15.96g   96.4%  15.38g
Judaean Sheqel    11.33g   97.0%  10.99g
Samarian Sheqel  14.52g  91.8%  13.32g
Philistian Sheqel  14.32g  94.3%  13.50g
AS111501. Judah, bronze 1 shekel sphere weight, Hendin Weights -; Tushingham -; Kletter 1998; sphere with two flat surfaces, Choice, 14.427g, 15.7mm diameter, c. 375 - 332 B.C.; ex Archaeological Center (Robert Deutsch, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2012); rare; $720.00 SALE PRICE $648.00


Phoenician, Bronze Trapezoid Cube Weight (Het - 8.959g), c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Phoenician,| |Bronze| |Trapezoid| |Cube| |Weight| |(Het| |-| |8.959g),| |c.| |7th| |-| |4th| |Century| |B.C.|
If the markings on these weights indicate a value, we don't understand. Based on the weight of 8.959g, one might assume this is one shekel weight. Hendin lists four weights with the Phoenician het and all are about twice this weight and all are identified as 2 shekels weights. Kletter lists weights marked with the Phoenician het ranging from 0.95g to 16g.
AS111485. Phoenician, bronze trapezoid cube weight; Kletter 2000 16 (8.86g), Hendin Weights 248 - 251 (16.81 - 17.77g), Hecht A 53 (3.50g), Choice, earthen encrustations, 8.959g, 11.9x12.6x9.2mm, c. 7th - 4th Century B.C.; inverted truncated pyramid, incised (Phoenician het) on top, ex Shick Coins (Max Shick, Israel, 2012); $360.00 SALE PRICE $324.00


Roman, Bronze Repousse Plaque with Centaur Holding a Bow, Lorica Sqaumata Armor Plate(?), c. 1st - 3rd Century B.C.

|Roman| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Repousse| |Plaque| |with| |Centaur| |Holding| |a| |Bow,| |Lorica| |Sqaumata| |Armor| |Plate(?),| |c.| |1st| |-| |3rd| |Century| |B.C.|
Likely used in some legionary application; perhaps as a lorica squamata legionary armor plate segment.
AA59779. Roman, bronze repousse, 1.75 x 1.75 inches, c. 1st - 3rd century A.D.; sheet bronze hammered from behind in repousse technique to raise the figure of a centaur holding a bow, remains of two rivet holes where it was attached, tear on body, rare and interesting; from a New Jersey collection; $230.00 SALE PRICE $207.00


Mediterranean Region, Lead Shell Weight, 1/8 Libra (47.803g), c. 4th Century B.C. - 2nd Century A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Mediterranean| |Region,| |Lead| |Shell| |Weight,| |1/8| |Libra| |(47.803g),| |c.| |4th| |Century| |B.C.| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.||weight|
Hendin lists several such shell-shaped weights. They are found throughout the Mediterranean Region.
AS99980. Lead weight, Hendin Weights 276, Manns-Kloetzli p. 22, 37; Alvarez-Burgos P29; 1/8 Libra lead weight molded from bipod shell, weight 47.803 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, 4th century B.C. - 2nd century A.D.; $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00


Roman, Bronze Figural Chest Hasp (Herm), 1st - 4th Century A.D.

|Other| |Weapons| |&| |Tools|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Figural| |Chest| |Hasp| |(Herm),| |1st| |-| |4th| |Century| |A.D.|
To learn about Roman padlocks, Roman chest locks, Roman door locks, and similar Roman chest hasps, see Donald| Jackson's Roman| Gallery| of Locks| Keys| & |Seals in NumisWiki.
AS111507. Bronze small chest hasp; cf. Jackson Roman Locks type 1, 5118, Collectible, missing hing loop at back of the top and lock bolt or bolt slot slot at the back of the base, 5.47 cm (2 1/8") long, crude figure in the form of a herm, incised hair and facial features, five punched annulets (Celtic circles) on chest, male genitalia at the midsection; ex The Time Machine (Mark E. Reid); $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00


Mediterranean Region, Lead Shell Weight, 1/5 Libra (66.2g), c. 4th Century B.C. - 2nd Century A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Mediterranean| |Region,| |Lead| |Shell| |Weight,| |1/5| |Libra| |(66.2g),| |c.| |4th| |Century| |B.C.| |-| |2nd| |Century| |A.D.||weight|
Hendin lists several such shell-shaped weights. They are found throughout the Mediterranean Region.
AS112250. Lead weight, Hendin Weights 276, Manns-Kloetzli p. 22, 37; Alvarez-Burgos P29; 1/8 Libra lead weight molded from bipod shell, aVF, bumps, cuts, weight 66.206 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, 4th century B.C. - 2nd century A.D.; $160.00 SALE PRICE $144.00


Roman, Britannia, Bronze Steelyard Balance Scale, c. 43 - 410 A.D.

|Weights| |&| |Scales|, |Roman,| |Britannia,| |Bronze| |Steelyard| |Balance| |Scale,| |c.| |43| |-| |410| |A.D.|
Click on the following linked identification number to see the four somewhat similar Roman steelyard balance scales in the Portable Antiquities Scheme Website Database: PUBLIC-A8AD88, BERK-8EEB1F, WMID-184456, WMID-0497776
AS78112. Roman bronze steelyard balance scale; cf. Petrie Weights p. 29, pl. XVI, Collectible, green and reddish brown patina, incomplete; 12.2 cm (4 3/4") long hanging as shown in the photo, c. 43 - 410 A.D.; ex The Time Machine (Mark E. Reid, 25 Feb 2019), found in Lindum Colonia (Lincoln, UK); $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


Roman, Bronze Stud, c. 100 B.C. - 100 A.D.

|Metal| |Antiquities|, |Roman,| |Bronze| |Stud,| |c.| |100| |B.C.| |-| |100| |A.D.|
Most ancient nails were Iron. Bronze nails were used in ship construction and also with decorative purposes. The photo right is of a lockable strongbox or arca for storing money and other valuables. It was found at Pompeii. dates to the 1st century A.D. and is now in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. These boxes were often placed in the atrium, the public area of the house, as a display of wealth and power. This one is decorated with numerous bronze studs.Roman_arca
AS111506. Cone-headed bronze stud with four-sided shaft, Choice, green patina, point blunt and bent, 15.140g, 40.4mm long, head diameter 15.9mm, ex The Time Machine (Mark E. Reid); $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00




  



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REFERENCES

Amorai-Stark, S., and S. & M. Hershkovitz. Gemstones, Finger Rings, and Seal Boxes from Caesarea Maritima, The Hendler Collection. (Tel Aviv, 2016).
Babelon, E. & J. Blanchet. Catalogue des bronzes antiques de la Bibliotheque National. (Paris, 1895).
Baratte, F, et al. Vases antiques de metal au Musee de Chalon-sur-Saone. (Dijon, 1984).
Bartus, D. "Roman Figural Bronzes From Brigetio: Preliminary Notes" in Anodos, Studies of the Ancient World, 10/2010, pp. 17-27.
Ceci. C. Piccoli bronzi del Museo Nazionale di Napoli. (New York, 1858).
Comstock, M. & C. Vermeule. Greek, Etruscan, & Roman Bronzes in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston Museum of Fine Arts. (Boston, 1971).
Cornelius, I. The Iconography of the Canaanite Gods Reshef and Baal: Late Bronze and Iron Age I Periods (c 1500 1000 BCE). (Fribourg, 1994).
den Boesterd, M. Description of the Collections in the Rijksmuseum G.M. Kam at Nijmegen V, The Bronze Vessels. (1956).
Di Niro, A. (ed). Il Museo Sannitico di Campobasso, Catalogo della Collezione Provinciale. 2nd edition. (Pescara, 2007).
Edgar, C. Catalogue Gnral des Antiquits Egyptiennes du Muse de Caire, Greek Bronzes. (Cairo, 1904).
Koster, A. Description of the Collections in the Rijksmuseum G.M. Kam at Nijmegen XIII, The Bronze Vessels 2. (Gelderland, 1997).
Kozloff, A (ed.). Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection. (Cleveland, 1981).
Kozloff, A (ed.). More animals in ancient art: From the Leo Mildenberg collection. (Mainz, 1986).
Lamb, W. Greek and Roman Bronzes. (London, 1929).
Hattatt, R. Ancient Brooches and Other Artifacts. (Oxford, 1989).
Hayes, J. Greek, Roman, and Related Metalware in the Royal Ontario Museum. (Toronto, 1984).
Mattusch, C. Classical Bronzes: The Art and Craft of Greek and Roman Statuary. (Ithica, NY, 1996).
Mattusch, C. Greek Bronze Statuary: From the Beginnings through the Fifth Century B.C. (Ithica, NY, 1989).
Mertens, J. Greek Bronzes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (New York, 1985).
Milovanivic, B. & N. Mrdjic. "Ring-Keys from Viminacium" in Journal of the Serbian Archaeological Society, Vol. 32. (Belgrade, 2016).
Milovanovic, B. & A. Raickovic Savic. "Seal Boxes From the Viminacium Site" in Institute of Archaeology, Belgrade, STARINAR LXIII (2013), pp. 219 - 236.
Negbi, O. Canaanite Gods in Metal: An Archaeological Study of Ancient Syro-Palestinian Figures During the Bronze Ages, circa 3100 to 1200 BCE. (Tel Aviv, 1976).
Petrie, F. Objects of Daily Use. (London, 1927).
Petrovszky, R. Studien zu rmischen Bronze Gefassen mit Meister Stempeln. (Buch am Erlbach, 1993).
Radnti, A. Die Rmischen Bronzegefsse von Pannonien. (Leipzig, 1938).
Raev, B. "De Bronzegefsse der rmischen Kaiserzeit in Thrakien und Mosien" in Bericht der Rmisch-Germanischen Kommission, 58 (1977), pp. 607 - 642.
Richter, G. Greek, Etruscan and Roman Bronzes. (New York, 1915).
Ridder, A. Les Bronzes antiques du Louvre, I. Les Figurines. (Paris, 1913).
Roeder, G. Agyptische Bronzefiguren. (Berlin, 1956).
Rolland, H. Bronzes Antiques de Haute Provence. (Paris, 1965).
Rolley, C. Greek Bronzes. (London, 1986).
Smith, C. Catalogue of Bronzes in the Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan. (Paris, 1913).
Tassinari, S. Il vasellame bronzeo di Pompei. (Rome, 1993).
Walters, H. Catalogue of the Bronzes, Greek, Roman, and Etruscan, in the British Museum. (London, 1899).
Warden, P. The Hilprecht Collection of Greek, Italic, and Roman Bronzes in the University of Pennsylvania Museum. (Philadelphia, 1997).

Most references for jewelry, fibulae, weapons, arrowheads, sling bullets, lamps, and weights are not listed above. For improved clarity they are listed on the shop pages dedicated specifically to those types of antiquities.

Catalog current as of Friday, September 29, 2023.
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