Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2

By Giles Clarke; J. L. MacDonald et al. | Go to book overview

10 BEADS AND NECKLACES

BEADS were discovered in sixteen graves at Lankhills. In seven cases they were in the neck region and so must have belonged to necklaces, while elsewhere they were in piles, usually with other personal ornaments, which had accompanied rather than been worn by the dead person. Since it is likely that most of the beads belonged to necklaces, the individual bead collections are so referred to here. The beads are mostly glass, but other materials represented include coral, cornelian, amber, bone, and pearl. Eight necklaces were fastened with bronze clasps. Here the beads will first be discussed by material, and the collections or necklaces will then be described by find-number.


i. GLASS BEADS by MARGARET GUIDO

The glass beads from Lankhills are the most important known from fourth-century Britain, and they provide a rich and well-dated assemblage with which all future finds of the period will need to be compared. It may seem strange, but it is nevertheless true, that there are remarkably few necklaces of late Roman date from this country, and many of the bead 'necklaces' from old excavations now housed in our museums turn out, on closer study, to be simply miscellaneous and misleading collections of beads of sundry dates and provenances strung together for convenience.

There are a number of questions we need to ask, but very few which we are yet in a position to answer with regard to beads of this period. For instance, where were Roman beads made? Are any factories known? How much variation was there during the Roman period from one part of the empire to another? Can any local varieties be identified so that non-Roman elements can be recognised as having come from any particular region? How long into the fifth century did 'Roman' bead-types continue to be current?

At the beginning of the Roman penetration into the cultural life of the native peoples in various parts of Europe, the local bead-makers continued their production and, in Britain, the majority of first- and early second-century beads may be ascribed to these factories. When they went out of production, some of the beads they had produced may have remained for some decades in circulation as survivals. Soon, however, many of these typically Celtic types passed out of use and a certain dull standardisation was introduced, not only in Britain but elsewhere throughout the empire, so that by much of the third and all the fourth century many bead-types were identical from Spain to eastern Europe, and from North Africa to Britain, for they were traded well beyond the confines of the empire. Apart, however, from these standardised types of beads, we can occasionally recognise quite different ones, different in shape, decoration, and colour, which point to regional production in various parts of Europe, outside the empire.

The glass beads from Lankhills were submitted to me before I had knowledge of the other objects or cultural traits in the cemetery: they are therefore discussed quite impartially.

It is clear that while most graves produced unexceptionable assemblages,1 certain graves contained glass beads which are abnormal in a Roman context in Britain: these are Graves 40, 323, 333, and 336,

____________________
1
The boat- or kidney-shaped bead in necklace 215 (Grave 199) is comparatively unusual, but it has a few parallels in Britain and elsewhere.

-292-

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Pre-Roman and Roman Winchester - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Author's Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Figures xvii
  • List of Tables xxi
  • List of Abbreviations xxiii
  • Introduction li
  • Part I - The Excavation 1
  • 1 - Circumstances of Excavation 1
  • 2 - Archaeological Background 4
  • 3 - General Character of the Excavation 12
  • 4 - The Graves *
  • 5 - Other Features 96
  • Part II - Analysis 111
  • 1 - Introduction 111
  • 2 - Chronology 113
  • 3 - Age and Sex 123
  • 4 - Cremations 128
  • 5 - Inhumations: The Grave 131
  • 6 - Inhumations: The Grave-Furniture 145
  • 7 - Cemetery Organisation 183
  • Part III - The Finds 201
  • 1: Introduction 201
  • 2 - Coins 202
  • 3 - Pewter Vessels 206
  • 4 - Glass Vessels 209
  • 5 - Pottery Vessels 221
  • 6 - Animal Remains 239
  • 7 - Equipment 246
  • 8 - Cross-Bow Brooches 257
  • 9 - Belts and Belt-Fittings 264
  • 10 - Beads and Necklaces 292
  • 11 - Bracelets 301
  • 12 - Other Personal Ornaments 315
  • 13 - Hobnails and Footwear 322
  • 14 - Miscellaneous Objects 326
  • 15 - Textile Remains 329
  • 16 - Coffin-Nails, Coffin-Fittings, and Coffins 332
  • 17 - Human Skeletons: Preliminary Reports 342
  • 18 - Economic Conclusions 345
  • Part IV - Discussion 347
  • 1 - Late Romano-British Burial Practice 347
  • 2 - Foreign Elements 377
  • 3 - Religion 404
  • Concordances 434
  • Addenda 451
  • Index of Sites 517
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