Roman, 4th or early 5th century
Found during excavations by Winchester Museums Service Archaeology Section at St Martin's Close, Winnall, Winchester in 1984-5
This beautiful hairpin, its head shaped like a swimming duck was found in the grave of a child of about seven years old. It was discovered just to the right of the child's head, suggesting that it had been worn in the hair at burial. Distinguishing between male and female in children's bones is usually impossible without DNA analysis, but the hairpin tells us that this was probably a girl.
People from this part of Winchester's eastern Roman cemetery were rarely given grave goods, but those that have been found are generally of high quality, suggesting a high status group within the population. The way people were buried compares well in some respects with late Roman Christian cemeteries in Mediterranean areas and the Middle East.
Line drawing courtesy of English Heritage.