Iron scabbard with brass inlay
Roman, probably 3rd century AD
Found during excavations by Winchester Museums Service Archaeology Section at Victoria Road, Winchester in the mid- to late 1970s
This well-crafted object, decorated with vine scroll motifs of brass, is part of a Roman soldier's kit. Numerous scabbards like this have been found at forts on the Roman frontier in Germany, and from Winchester we have a small collection of Roman military finds. These are mainly Roman army standard-issue dress fittings rather than obvious detritus of war like swords and shields. No Roman fort has yet been found in Winchester. Perhaps there was no need for one, as the Iron Age people of the Winchester area are thought to have been in favour of becoming part of the Roman empire. In such a situation, soldiers may have been more needed as administrators than as fighters.