Archaeological Collection

Jewellery of the indigenous Roman population

Jewellery of the indigenous Roman population
Item name:Jewellery of the indigenous Roman population
Dating:5th c.–early 7th c.
Findspot:Various sites
On display:Medieval Stories from the Crossroads


The Roman population continued to use the types of personal adornment popular in the Late Roman period. In the 5thcentury, they began wearing earrings with a polyhedral or cubic bead that replaced the earlier forms, while basket earrings came into vogue in the 6th century. Gold and silver earrings made in the techniques of filigree and granulation are prestige products of Early Byzantine workshops, while such earrings in bronze represent their imitations widespread among the Roman population in the northern Adriatic and eastern Alpine regions.

Also common were decorative pins, some with a polyhedral head, as well as necklaces of glass and amber beads, bracelets with thickened ends, finger rings frequently with incised crosses, and different brooches. Many brooches are in the shape of animals, such as a cock or a horse. Crossbow brooches are rarer, particularly the high-quality Byzantine products from the 6thcentury. One such product was found at Gradišče in Cerkno and has numerous parallels from the sites of the Balkan Peninsula and the Lower Danube Basin. The Romans wore brooches singly.

Items of jewellery were quite often decorated with ring-and-dots. This motif had already been very popular in prehistory and again came into fashion in Late Antiquity. It also decorated a plate brooch from Gradec near Prapretno. 

1. Necklace, amber and glass, string l. 51 cm, 6th c., Pristava in Bled, Grave 252, Inv. No. S 514.

2. Brooch in the shape of a cock, bronze, l. 4.77 cm, 6th c., Gradec near Prapretno, Inv. No. S 2551.

3. Brooch in the shape of a horse, bronze, l. 4.15 cm, second half of the 6th c., Pristava in Bled, Grave 323, Inv. No. S 3504.

4. Bracelet, bronze, diam. 6.8 cm, 6th c., Pristava in Bled, Grave 314, Inv. No. S 582.

5. Bracelet, iron, diam. 5.07 cm, 6th c., Pristava in Bled, Grave 278, Inv. No. S 556.

6. Pair of earrings, bronze and glass, diam. 3.25 and 3.5 cm, 6thc., Šmarjeta, Inv. Nos. P 1073 and P 1074.

7. Earring, bronze and cowrie shell, diam. 3.35 cm, 6th c., Šmarjeta, Inv. No. P 1072.

8. Upper part of a decorative pin, bronze, surv. l. 6.5 cm, 6thc., Gradec near Prapretno, Inv. No. S 6731.

9. Decorative pin, bronze, l. 13.2 cm, 6th c., Češnjice near Trebelno, Inv. No. S 3225.

10. Decorative pin, iron, l. 9.7 cm, 6th c., Limberk above Velika Račna, Inv. No. S 3315.

11. Decorative pin, bronze, l. 7.6 cm, 5th–6th c., Ljubljana, Inv. No. R 10483.

12. Decorative pin, bronze. l. 5.85 cm, 5th–6th c., Sv. Radegunda, Inv. No. S 3117.

13. Brooch, bronze, diam. 2.35 cm, 6th c., Gradec near Prapretno, Inv. No. S 2548.

14. Brooch, bronze, iron and copper, l. 3.95 cm, 6th c., Gradišče in Cerkno, Inv. No. S 8101.

15. Finger ring, silver and glass, h. 2.7 cm, 6th c., Smokuč, Grave 27, Inv. No. S 5543.

16. Cubic bead earring , silver, diam. 1.51 cm, 5th–6thc., Pristava in Bled, Grave 360, Inv. No. S 3562.

17. Cubic bead earrings, bronze, diam. 2.93 cm, 2.9 and 3.34 cm, 5th–6thc., Šmarjeta, Inv. No. P 1071, P 1076 and P 1079.

18. Pair of basket earrings, silver and glass, h. 3.87 and 3.93 cm, Pristava in Bled, Grave 286, Inv. No. S 558 and S 559.

19. Basket earring, silver, h. 3.92 cm, Pristava in Bled, Grave 256, Inv. No. S 524.

20. Finger ring, bronze, diam. 2.05 cm, 6th c., Pristava in Bled, Grave 326, Inv. No. S 3511.

21. Finger ring, bronze, diam. 2.2 cm, 6th c., Pristava in Bled, Grave 240, Inv. No. S 501.

22. Cubic bead earring, bronze, diam. 2.28 cm, Pristava in Bled, Inv. No. S 552.

Further reading

Knific, Timotej in Nabergoj, Tomaž, 2016: Medieval Stories from the Crossroads, Ljubljana, Fig. 8, pp. 17, 218.

On display in the Permanent Exhibition