Roman enamelled seal box

Contributed by The Hunterian

Roman enamelled seal box

This Roman enamelled seal box was found at Cleghorn temporary Roman camp, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, and was picked by Shauna Joy, second year student at the University of Glasgow (Single Honours Archaeology). Shauna writes - Seal boxes would have most usually been made of bronze, and in this case it has an enamelled decoration on its lid, but some were also plain. Seal boxes would have come in all different sizes and shapes. Inside it would have been the official mark (seal) of the sender and this would have been attached to a letter, much like a stamp, which could have been sent anywhere across the Empire. Everyone in the Roman Empire would have had their own personal seal and it worked much in the way that a signature does, in that it proved the identity of the sender. This would have been important, especially in terms of confidentiality and important documents, as a test of the intelligence and loyalty of the reader, who had to know not break the seal unless they were sure they were supposed to be reading the letter. The enamelled seal box is a good example of communication in the Empire, the working of social status and the symbols of power, which is why I like it.

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Cleghorn temporary Roman camp


second century AD


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