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Analysis of Roman Bronze Finger Rings from Aquincum

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The majority of rings recovered in Aquincum (Budapest), the capital of the Roman province Pannonia Inferior, in today's Hungary, are made of bronze. Finger rings can be classified in eleven groups by their shapes. In addition, their composition allows the distinction of eight groups. Concerning the correlation between the types and alloys, it can generally be concluded that there is only rarely a close relationship between the deliberate selection of the alloy and the decoration technique of the jewelry. Finger rings from Aquincum made of copper-based alloys always contain some zinc, albeit in variable quantities. Indeed, the most common alloy employed for the largest number of ornaments and with the greatest variety of shapes is brass, the alloy of copper, and zinc. The high number of alloys with a different composition indicates that there was a significantly increased demand for jewelry similar in color to precious metal, but cheaper and easy to produce. Its manufacture did not require a specialized workshop.
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Keywords: Aquincum; Copper-based alloys; Roman bronze jewelry; Roman finger rings; SEM/EDS analysis; Types of Roman finger rings

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Antiquity, Aquincum Museum, Budapest, Hungary

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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