Tyne and Wear HER(923): South Shields vicus, glass sphere - Details
South Shields vicus, glass sphere
Black, opaque glass sphere, slightly flatter on one face where the ball has been detached from the rod during manufacture. Measuring 38 mm x 35 mm. Came to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle in the Blair collection, labelled as found in Cleveland Street in c. 1877 with a mortarium of mid/late Antonine date. J.D. Cowen believed it to be Roman, and identified it as a linen-smoother. Lindsay Allason-Jones reckons it could have had other functions, e.g. grinding medicines or pigments, and states that similar objects, either with handles or bun-shaped, have been found on Viking and medieval sites.
<< HER 923 >> J.D. Cowen, 1935, A Roman Glass Linen-smoother, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, 4, VI (for 1933-34), p. 355-7 J.P. Wild, 1970, Textile Manufacture in the Northern Roman Provinces, pp. 15 and 85, fig. 76. L. Allason-Jones & R. Miket, 1984, The Catalogue of Small Finds from South Shields Roman Fort, Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, Monograph, No.4.54 P.T. Bidwell, 1988, The Civilian Settlement...of the Roman Fort at South Shields, no. 9