Aucissa-Hod Hill Sequence

The next eleven brooches have or had the axis bars of their hinged pins housed in the rolled-over heads of their bows, except the first whose head is rolled under.

20 sf. 224 The bow design is simple consisting of three sunken bead-rows separated by longitudinal flutes. The lower bow is missing and there is no ornamental head-plate, the design beginning just short of the rolled-under head.



A small Aucissa variant brooch of length 40mm. The head is turned under an iron axis bar towards the back of the bow in the British style. The flat bow tapers from the head in a relatively shallow curve and is decorated with three pairs of ribs with shallow flutes between. The two ribs in each pair are joined by many small cross ribs. The decoration is too wide for the remains of the bow and the right hand pair of ribs is largely off the edge. The bottom of the bow is plain and tapers to a small foot knob. The remnant of catch-plate extends 15 mm up the bow and terminates at the point where the bow begins to curve and the decorative features begin. 1st Century AD.


The rolled-under head places this brooch is an awkward category: the style would suit the Strip Brooch at home in the South West, but the use of a square punch does not suit that, pointing to a time when early examples of what became the Aucissa were so decorated before proper beading was introduced. Which should take precedence, the Strip or the pre-Aucissa strain, is hard to tell, perhaps the punch marks are the prime indicators, in which case the date is before 30, otherwise it would be from c.30 to near the end of the 1st century. The presence of the next brooch in this collection suggests that the earlier date is not out of place.

21 sf. 184 The bow is like that of a conventional Aucissa: a ridge down each border and a sunken bead-row down the centre of a curved face. The head-plate is made up of a central flute between sunken bead-rows and stopped at each end by prominent "eyes" consisting of a tall boss rising from an annular groove. The upper bow is stopped at the bottom by two small cross-mouldings, the rest being largely missing.



An Aucissa derivative brooch of length 47mm. The bow is typically deeply arched and relatively slender. The head is rolled towards the face of the bow over an iron axis bar in the continental style. The head is badly pitted and decorative elements are difficult to discern. A lateral groove crosses the bow in front of the hinge, below which is an obvious moulded eye consisting of a ring and pellet on both sides. The panel below the eyes, which sometimes carries the name Aucissa, has a row of sunken beads on this example. A similar row of beads between ribs decorates the centre of the bow and a deep cavetto moulding either side of this is bordered by a plain rib. The very edge of the bow, where it remains is beaded. Beneath these decorations, a short length of plain bow tapers into a small forward facing foot with integral knob. The catch-plate is reduced to a remnant which follows the curve of the foot and extends 20 mm up the length of the bow from the tip of the foot knob. Hattat's BOA says that the Aucissa type flourished from the Augustan to Claudian periods and ceased to reach Britain after 60AD. Hulls type 51. 1st Century AD.


The Aucissa proper has a simple head-plate with either a bead-row on either side of a flute, or with the bead-row next to the bow replaced by a name, usually Aucissa although others are known. In either case, the flute ends in semi-circular cut-outs, unlike the semi-circular projections running part of the way round "eyes". These are never found on Aucissas which lie at the very end of a line of development from the middle of the 1st century B.C. (Duval 1974). The Aucissa had ceased to be made at the time of the conquest, although survivors in use arrived in some numbers then. No Aucissa as such has been shown to come from an unequivocal preconquest deposit. The present brooch is earlier and should hardly have been in use by A.D. 45.

22 sf. 333 The upper bow is broad and stopped top and bottom by two cross-mouldings. Between these, there is a central sunken bead-row with a flute on each side. The plain lower bow is very narrow and plain and finished in a plain globular separately-made foot-knob.



A Hod Hill variant brooch, possibly even a Bagendon C type. The brooch is intact with a straight pin. The head is rolled towards the face of the bow, over an iron axis bar in the continental style. The bow is quite arched and the condition is very poor. The top of the bow is the full width of the head, and has two cross ribs, beneath which the bow is decorated with three central ribs, the middle one being knurled. Either side of these are cavetto mouldings with knurled marginal ribs. Below this decoration are a further two cross ribs, the bow then tapers to a small foot knob. The plain catch-plate extends 12mm up the length of the bow. 1st Century AD.


23 sf. 332 A repeat of the last whose very small size precluded the full form of the cross-mouldings on the upper bow.



A small Aucissa derivative brooch of length 26mm, with a highly arched bow. The head is rolled towards the face of the bow, over an iron axis bar, in the continental style. The head has two cross ribs between which there is a line of beads in lieu of the word Aucissa. Beneath this, the tapering bow is decorated with three central ribs, the middle rib being knurled while the other two are plain. Outside these are shallow flutes and plain marginal ribs. These decorative features terminate at a cross groove, below which the bow is plain, tapering to a bulbous foot knob which has a hooked upper surface. The back of the catch-plate projects out 5mm at the top of its 11mm length. The 6mm remnant of pin is of flattish section. 1st Century AD.


Both of these, with their separately-made foot-knobs are transitional between the Aucissa and the myriad of true Hod Hills. Both have bow designs which are clearly derived from the earlier type, but both show the flattening out of the bow section which is more a mark of the Hod Hill These brooches were made before the conquest as the Hod Hill arrives fully developed with the army of conquest.

24 sf. 58 The design is based on the Aucissa: the upper bow has a prominent cross-cut central ridge with another on each border, the lower bow is plain and tapers to a simple moulded foot. The brooch was differentially tinned or silvered, the flutes on the upper bow being left as the base metal.



A Hod Hill derivative brooch of length 42mm with no side knobs. The head is rolled over an iron axis bar towards the face of the bow in the Continental style. The lower 20mm part of the bow tapers gently to a small foot knob and plain catch-plate, whilst the upper 20mm has two cavetto mouldings between three tapering ribs. The marginal ribs are shallow and plain faced whereas the median rib is more pronounced, especially towards its lower extent, and is knurled by 14 lateral grooves, spaced fairly evenly around 1mm in pitch. The whole of the front of the brooch with the exception of the cavetto mouldings has white metal plating, as do the sides of the bow. The pin is hinged and mobile. File-marks and other manufacturing impressions indicate that the brooch was made by casting into a longitudinal two-piece mould and subsequently hand shaped. The white metal was then applied to the bow and removed from the back and the cavetto mouldings by filing. Hull's type 60. 1st Century AD.

25 sf. 111 The upper bow lacks the side ridges of the last, but has a cross-ridge above and below. The lower bow is missing, apart from the very top which is wider than the upper bow.



A small Hod Hill derivative brooch of length 30mm. The head is rolled over an iron axis bar towards the face of the bow in the continental style. The bow is only slightly curved with a flat central panel between two marginal longitudinal and two lateral ribs. The panel has a thick notched central rib, on either side of which is a flute. The brooch has a very wide foot with a knurled lateral rib. No traces of side knobs are evident but the edges are very pitted. A few traces of white metal plating are evident on the front and sides of the bow. The catch-plate is absent except for the uppermost 2 mm which suggests that the brooch may have been several millimetres longer when in use. Hulls type 60. 1st Century AD.


26 sf. 548 Here, only the very top of the upper bow is present. It has a short wing on either side and a central flute.



A fragment of a Hod Hill derivative brooch. The head is rolled towards the face of the bow over an iron axis bar in the continental style. The remnant of bow is slightly curved with side knobs at the top The bow is decorated with a wide flute which has a knurled rib on either side. A further flute and knurled rib crosses the side knobs. The face of the bow was plated with white metal. 1st Century AD.


27 sf. 301 Distorted, the surviving part of the upper bow has the remains of two flutes.



The top part of a Hod Hill derivative brooch which has the head rolled towards the face of the bow, over an iron axis bar, in the continental style. The top of the bow broadens into very crude side knobs and there is a broad flute, central to the pin but not the bow. On either side of this flute is a roughly knurled rib. A smaller flute and another rib is evident at only the widest point. 1st Century AD.


28 sf. 331 The upper bow tapers outwards towards the bottom where there are vestiges of wings. There are three ridges down the middle with a flaring flute on each side. There is a cross-moulding above and below. The lower bow is lost.



A fragment of a Hod Hill derivative brooch with knobs at the base of the bow. The brooch is made of very thin metal and the head is absent. The bow tapers in, then out at a cross rib before narrowing again, then fans out again with side knobs at the base of the fan. This middle section of the bow is decorated with three flutes. Below this section, the bow curves in to a cross rib and is broken near the top of the catch-plate which is represented by a mere 3mm remnant. (Like Hattat's 848 which has five flutes. Hull illustrates many with three flutes. Pl 236, 3923 Pl 240, 1031 Pl 241 7528 and 877, 9932). Hulls type 61. 1st Century AD.


29 sf. 271 The manner of holding the pin relates this brooch to the Hod Hill family, otherwise it looks very much like a Langton Down with the three ridges with a flute on each side down the whole length, and the cross-moulding on the head. The profile also suits the earlier type.



A Hod Hill derivative brooch of length 44mm. The head is rolled over a copper alloy axis bar towards the face of the bow in the continental style. A deep cross rib separates the head from the parallel sided bow, which has no side knobs. The bow is very flat except for a curve at the top. The bow decoration consists of two lateral ribs near the head, below which there are three, central, plain ribs with Cavetto mouldings and a further plain rib on either side. This decoration continues to the bottom of the bow. There is no foot moulding and the catch-plate, which extends 20mm up the bow, is plain. 1st Century AD.


30 sf. 337 The bow consists of five beads and reels topped by one side of another reel Only the beads and the ridges of the reels are tinned or silvered.



A Hod Hill variant brooch of length 45mm. The head is rolled towards the face, over an iron axis bar in the continental style. The bow is decorated with five astragals with alternate cavetto mouldings separated by cross ribs. All but the uppermost and lower two of these cross ribs are knurled. The catch-plate is plain and extends 19mm up the length of the bow. The face of the brooch carries white metal plating from the head to the foot although none is evident in the concave mouldings. Hod Hill brooches are considered to be 1st Century AD. This is perhaps not Hull's type 60 as it is a variant. (For similar decoration see Hattat's IARB, hinged dolphin No. 364 and Hull pl 370). 1st Century AD.


These are all, one way or another, Hod Hills. None has yet been convincingly published from an undoubted pre-conquest deposit and the distribution of the type shows clearly that it had largely passed out of use when the army moved north of the Dee-Humber line in the 70s. Therefore, brooches 24-29 should have an end-date of 70/75. However, in the case of Brooch 30, the matter is not quite so simple. Hod Hills moulded all the way to the foot are excessively rare and the suspicion is that this is an example of the strain of Hod Hills which, on the continent, continued to the end of the 1st century by which time it had begun to be decorated in enamel and showed the first signs of becoming what is a fairly wide family of designs in the 2nd century which shows as much liking for various patterns as the Hod Hill had done half a century before.