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Roman Seal Boxes - Ukdfd

Roman Seal Boxes - Ukdfd

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Published by UKDFD
There are two basic components to a Roman seal box; a lid, usually decorated, and a base. Often the lids have a
slightly recessed underside but some are completely flat. The base always has a series of circular perforations in
it, always between 3 and 5. The bases also have side walls, usually about 5mm high, with two opposed notches or
slots which are thought to have facilitated the tying of the seal box to a package. The hinge element consists of
two loops on the base and a single loop on the lid which fits between the two loops on the base. An iron or copper
alloy pin is then inserted through all three loops forming a simple hinge. Some lids have a very small integrally
cast locating pin or spike opposite the hinge element pointing downwards.
There are two basic components to a Roman seal box; a lid, usually decorated, and a base. Often the lids have a
slightly recessed underside but some are completely flat. The base always has a series of circular perforations in
it, always between 3 and 5. The bases also have side walls, usually about 5mm high, with two opposed notches or
slots which are thought to have facilitated the tying of the seal box to a package. The hinge element consists of
two loops on the base and a single loop on the lid which fits between the two loops on the base. An iron or copper
alloy pin is then inserted through all three loops forming a simple hinge. Some lids have a very small integrally
cast locating pin or spike opposite the hinge element pointing downwards.

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: UKDFD on Feb 24, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/29/2013

 
Roman Seal Boxes - ukdfdhttp://www.ukdfd.co.uk/pages/roman-seal-boxes.html[24.02.2009 02:29:43]
GeneralInformation
ReferenceArticles
Roman Seal Boxes
There are two basic components to a Roman seal box; a lid, usually decorated, and a base. Often the lids have aslightly recessed underside but some are completely flat. The base always has a series of circular perforations init, always between 3 and 5. The bases also have side walls, usually about 5mm high, with two opposed notches orslots which are thought to have facilitated the tying of the seal box to a package. The hinge element consists oftwo loops on the base and a single loop on the lid which fits between the two loops on the base. An iron or copperalloy pin is then inserted through all three loops forming a simple hinge. Some lids have a very small integrallycast locating pin or spike opposite the hinge element pointing downwards. This is designed to fit into acorresponding socket in the base. The purpose seems to have been to prevent lateral movement of the lid. Onceagain this is only the most common configuration and differences from it will be discussed. The first example (457)found by Richard Berry shows the two slots and the socket to receive the locating pin at the tip. The completeexample below (13683) found by Shotgun Cap Dave shows all the components of a complete seal box includingthe hinge assembly
Fig 1: UKDFD 457 
 
Roman Seal Boxes - ukdfdhttp://www.ukdfd.co.uk/pages/roman-seal-boxes.html[24.02.2009 02:29:43]
Fig 2: UKDFD 13683 
There are four main shape categories.
1.Piriform or leaf shape.
There are three main types within this group. The most common is a long tapering leaf shape. These are alwaysover 40mm in length and always decorated with enamel. This leaf shape decorated with a heart shape enamelledmotif is the most common type in Britain and one of the latest, first appearing perhaps in the Antonine period. Thiscomplete example (Ref 9284) was found by Tatfinder but there are two other nice examples of this type found byGilby (11086 [Shown here] & 11088)
Fig 3: UKDFD 9284 Fig 4: UKDFD 11086 
The next shape in this group is lamp shaped. These too are fairly large, usually between 30 & 35mm long and arealso decorated with enamel. The example on the left (5741) found by Simon law has lost nearly all of its enamelbut is otherwise a typical example of this type. The example on the right (457) found by Richard Berry is verysimilar.
 
Roman Seal Boxes - ukdfdhttp://www.ukdfd.co.uk/pages/roman-seal-boxes.html[24.02.2009 02:29:43]
Fig 5: UKDFD 5741Fig 6: UKDFD 457 
The final type from this group is rarer and almost certainly the earliest of the three. They are smaller than the othertwo usually not exceeding 25mm in length and they are rarely enamelled but were nearly always given a whitemetal coating or ‘tinned’. This example (6508) found by Sharon Edwards has a separately cast phallus riveted tothe lid and the rivet can clearly be seen on the underside.
Fig 7:UKDFD 6508 Fig 8: UKDFD 6508 
There is another riveted phallus seal box lid in this group (2118) found by EarthRob and it is larger than the type Iam describing here. Also note that this example is enamelled, so some later, large leaf shaped boxes haveenamelled decoration and a riveted decoration. The way to distinguish between them, even if you only have abase is by the size and shape.

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