Fish-hooks

Category

Category: 
Excavation
Finds
Roman

Author

Various

During excavation works for the A1 Leeming to Barton scheme, 35 graves associated with the Roman settlement of Cataractonium were identified in. Two small possible fish-hooks were found between the legs of two broadly contemporary female burials to the north of Cataractonium at Brompton West. Both hooks were made from copper-alloy, and although neither have the characteristic barbed end that is typical of Roman fish-hooks, both had a hammered and notched end that would have been used for attaching the line to the hook. The deposition of the hooks in the grave is cause for debate, as it is unclear whether the objects held symbolic meaning that marked the deceased’s association with fishing, or instead if they had been used in more prosaic purpose, such as surrogate shroud-pins.  

Fish-hooks are generally scarce finds on Roman sites, and this is one of the first times such objects have been found in a grave. Therefore, although these tiny finds may appear to be plain, they are without doubt one of the more unique artefact types found by the A1 excavations.

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