Snake Ring

A1 Leeming to Barton




Charlotte Britton

It was extremely difficult to choose one outstanding object from the A1 scheme because it was full of treasures; however, the snake ring always comes to mind. Many items of personal adornment were recovered including bracelets, brooches and rings, but this one was by far my favourite. This silver ring, dating to the 1st century AD, was recovered from a cobbled surface and takes the form of snake. Spiralling around the finger it would have been a lovely example of jewellery worn during the Roman period. The head of the snake is moulded, and the body and tail display an incised lattice design. The internal diameter of the ring is 17mm and so it was probably worn by a woman, not only as a piece of adornment but also as a protective amulet. In the Roman period, snakes were associated with Aesculapius (the god of medicine) and Mercury and, as such, may have been a symbol of healing and rebirth. Although almost 2000 years old, this ring could be worn today and not look out of place.

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