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Were Late Roman belt parts tinned?
#1
Question as I begin to plan putting my Late Roman belt together (having spoken to Nodge yesterday) - were Late Roman belt parts ever tinned (or, I suppose, silvered)?

And if so, could you give some examples?

Thanks!

Caballo
[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]


aka Paul B, moderator
http://www.romanarmy.net/auxilia.htm
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#2
Good morning,

I do enjoy your questions, they make me examine my assumptions!

I suspect it depends on status and location.

Field armies and guard units would want to be conspicuous in silvered or silver belt fittings. Two silvered propeller stiffeners were found with the Berkasovo helms. A gilded silver buckle from Asia Minor is in the Ortiz collection. even higher status gilded or gold fittings could be used. There is a gold buckle from Tenes, Algeria. But gold is a soft metal and hardly the thing for belt stiffeners. Pure gold fittings may have needed thinner belts.

Most fittings seem to have been copper alloy. But some traces of silvering does survive in the UK.

Poor pedes form Yorkshire may have tinned their belts to ape their betters on the continent, but I don't know of any UK examples.

In addition to your question, the fittings from Grave 3 at Oudenburg are very popular. I would like to know if they were silvered, or just plain bronze.
John Conyard

York

A member of Comitatus Late Roman
Reconstruction Group

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.comitatus.net">http://www.comitatus.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.historicalinterpretations.net">http://www.historicalinterpretations.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com">http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com
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#3
It occurred to me that there are some chip carved belt buckles in the Museum of London, so went to check them out in my lunch break. It seemed to my (very) untutored eye that there were traces of tinning in the chip carved recesses of the Late Roman buckle found at Mansell Street, London. I've asked them for a picture and will get back to you all!

Cheers

Caballo
[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]


aka Paul B, moderator
http://www.romanarmy.net/auxilia.htm
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#4
Cool, Caballo! It would be a confirmation of which is, up till now just an assumption! 8)

Aitor
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#5
That must be very pleasant to be able to just stroll around the BM during your lunch break!
Sulla Felix

AKA Barry Coomber
Moderator

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#6
I'm very lucky- I walk literally over the Roman / medieval walls to go into my office, which is over the old Roman gate, and 3 minutes from the Museum of London. BM is a short Tube ride away.
Pics taken today of the buckle- will sort and post later today.
View from close my office of the old City wall- a ballista emplacement is just below the modern wall at the far end.
[Image: 599553860_e64bd16a33.jpg]
[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]


aka Paul B, moderator
http://www.romanarmy.net/auxilia.htm
Moderation in all things
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#7
You are indeed very lucky - and thanks for sharing the city wall picture!
Sulla Felix

AKA Barry Coomber
Moderator

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#8
No pictures received from the MoL, so I went down and took some- though taking pictures through glass is not ideal!

The album is here http://picasaweb.google.com/browne.paul/LateRomanBelt - the Mansell Street belt is on top, and the buckle below is a modern reproduction.

What amazed me when I looked at the photographs was that the flash had highlighted silvering or tinning on the internal border that was almost invisible to the naked eye. To be honest, when I looked at the buckle in the Museum, I didn't see this. So, for this purpose, the photo may be better than a visit!

Its worth expanding the pictures and looking into the crevices of the chip carving. There are remains of tinning there- certainly, the metal looked identical to the tinning I have been doing recently.

What do you more expert Late Romans and others think?



[Image: IMG_2507.jpg]

The small buckle in front of the Mansell St belt is a modern reproduction.

[Image: IMG_2504.jpg]

[Image: IMG_2496.jpg]
[Image: wip2_r1_c1-1-1.jpg] [Image: Comitatuslogo3.jpg]


aka Paul B, moderator
http://www.romanarmy.net/auxilia.htm
Moderation in all things
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#9
Many thanks, Paul: laus for you!! Big Grin
I think that it is parcel tinning. Only the contour band was tinned to give an effect of silver on gold background. All the surface of the fittings has suffered the same abrassion, therefore if tinning has only survived there, probably only hte bands were tinned in origin.

Aitor
It\'s all an accident, an accident of hands. Mine, others, all without mind, from one extreme to another, but neither works nor will ever.

Rolf Steiner
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#10
Nice photos. My understanding this that this style of belt buckle and fittings are rare in the UK, with none found north of the Thames. Up here in Yorkshire our Comitatus cavalry would wear them, but perhaps not the infantry.

I have a 1915 photo of the Smithfield buckle, reconstructed in your photos. Due to the lighting in the photo it to seems silvered. But it is the raised edges that appear silvered, exactly the edges you would expect the plating the wear off first. So I think it is a trick of the light.

But your photos seem to clearly show silver foil selectively applied to the "boundaries" of the Mansell Street fittings. I doubt if it is tinning. I suspect the use of foil on these belt fittings mirrors the use of silver and gold sheathing on helmets. Time permitting it could be interesting to try and duplicate the technique in the next few weeks. I sat with a workman applying silver and gold foil in York Minster, and it looked easy enough. But I suspect the foil we could purchase today would not be thick enough to use on buckles.

Anyway, thank you for the photos, it keeps us moving onwards.
John Conyard

York

A member of Comitatus Late Roman
Reconstruction Group

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.comitatus.net">http://www.comitatus.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.historicalinterpretations.net">http://www.historicalinterpretations.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com">http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com
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#11
Quote:But I suspect the foil we could purchase today would not be thick enough to use on buckles.

http://www.palmermetals.co.uk/subcatego ... ilver.aspx

Click on Fine Silver Sheet and enter your required sizes into the fields. Thicknesses from 0.3mm to 1.0mm.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#12
Thank you very much for the link. I was just going to go to my local craft shop. The availability of things on the web never ceases to amaze me.

Have you worked with silver foil before? I imagined I would roughly cut it to shape, use a brush to stipple the foil into the carving, and then clean up the edges with a knife. but that would only work for relatively thin foil.
John Conyard

York

A member of Comitatus Late Roman
Reconstruction Group

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.comitatus.net">http://www.comitatus.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.historicalinterpretations.net">http://www.historicalinterpretations.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com">http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com
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#13
As long as you take a very methodical approach using the right tools and materials, it's very easy to do. I use an artists flat brush to dab the foil on initially and then smooth the foil outwards, and be sure to use proper size as the adhesive. Also be sure not to touch the foil directly with your fingers, and leave the size to go very tacky before applying the foil.

The results are astonishing, vivid and very bright. I've foiled the plates of two Mainz scabbards and they gleam beautifully.
TARBICvS/Jim Bowers
A A A DESEDO DESEDO!
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#14
Thanks for the information and advice. I'll put it to good use.

John
John Conyard

York

A member of Comitatus Late Roman
Reconstruction Group

<a class="postlink" href="http://www.comitatus.net">http://www.comitatus.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://www.historicalinterpretations.net">http://www.historicalinterpretations.net
<a class="postlink" href="http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com">http://lateantiquearchaeology.wordpress.com
Reply
#15
I doubt it's tin, too. Silver remins shiny long time, but with the time, the tin could turn in a grey or black colour.
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