Copper alloy knife handle cast as hare and hound. From VR72-80, Victoria Road, Winchester, Hampshire. Excavated by Winchester Archaeology Section, 1972-1980.

Copper alloy knife handle cast as hare and hound. From VR72-80, Victoria Road, Winchester, Hampshire. Excavated by Winchester Archaeology Section, 1972-1980.

Copper alloy knife handle

Roman, probably 4th century

Excavated at Victoria Road, Winchester by Winchester Museums Service Archaeology Section in the mid- to late 1970s

This bronze handle from a folding clasp knife was cast in the form of a hound biting a hare. The motifs are very stylized and might not have been identifiable if more naturalistic examples of such objects had not been found elsewhere. The blade was of iron, but it has almost completely corroded away from being buried in the ground for over 1500 years.

The knife handle was found in a grave in Winchester's northern Roman cemetery. Aged 45 or over, the person's sex could not be identified from their bones, but burial of equipment like this is usually with men. A similar Roman knife was also discovered, along with other Roman objects deliberately buried as grave goods in an Anglo-Saxon grave at Worthy Park. Both are on display at the City Museum, this one in the Venta Gallery, and the Worthy Park object in the Wintanceaster Gallery.

Copper alloy knife handle cast as hare and hound. From VR72-80, Victoria Road, Winchester, Hampshire. Excavated by Winchester Archaeology Section, 1972-1980.