This week’s Finds Friday is a small, enamelled lid from a square ‘seal box’. It’s 18mm by 18mm, and 2mm thick, with a trace of a hinge at one corner and an outer edge with incised notches.
This artefact was found during the excavations on the A1 Road Scheme at Healam Bridge, which revealed extensive remains of a Roman roadside settlement situated where Dere Street crossed Healam Beck. The lid came from a deposit thought to have been washed in from a nearby midden or area of domestic occupation. The deposit was dated to the mid-/late 2nd century to early 3rd century AD and the use of enamelling as a decorative technique was popular throughout the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD. The lid has a central roundel of what now appears to be orange enamel, an outer band of alternating blue and red enamel, with orange eyes at each corner.
Seal boxes protected a lump of wax that would then be melted to hold together the bindings of a packet or writing tablet.