by Stuart Laycock and Chris Marshall

Page One
Dolphin Buckles

Page Two
Bird Buckles

Page Three
Crescent Buckles

Page Four
Dragon Buckles

Page Five
Head Buckles

Page Six
Horsehead Buckles

Page Seven
Lionhead Buckles

Page Eight
Plain Loop Buckles

Page Nine
Triangular Plate Buckles

About this project
Welcome to one of the leading locations for research into late Roman and post Roman British buckles. This is a project aiming to get some answers to some very important questions about the end of Roman Britain and the birth of England. Over 40 years ago Hawkes and Dunning categorised late Roman buckles in this country. What we are doing now is re-evaluating those categories in the light of discoveries by archaeologists and detectorists over the last few decades. We want to understand how different buckle styles and groups relate and what they can tell us about a period of enormous historical significance. It's a collaborative effort, which hopefully will be of interest and use to you, but also needs your support. Search through your collections. Do you have, or do you know anyone who has, late Roman buckles from Britain (we're as interested in fragments as we are whole pieces). If youíre in doubt whether what you have is late Roman, email us a picture and we'll happily take a look. This is an area of research where new discoveries are being made all the time. A website can react to changes and new developments in a way which an article in a journal could not. So if you know that something on this website is untrue, or you know something about the subject thatís not covered on this website, tell us and weíll change it. Please use the link below to email us.
email here

The end of Roman Britain and the decades leading up to it, are still a period which raises many unanswered questions, among them: What is happening on the military front? What is the nature of contact between Britain and the rest of the Roman empire in this period? How and when does Roman Britain begin to fragment? Hawkes and Dunning, back in 1961, identified a group of late Roman buckles, belonging to this period, (the late decades of the 4th century and the first decades of the 5th) which may hold part of the answer to these questions. Since their groundbreaking work, many more buckles have been discovered, but there has been comparatively little progress in understanding how the buckles relate to each other and what their significance is. This site is an attempt to rectify that situation, by revisiting the classification of the buckles in the light of new discoveries, and interpreting the evidence this provided. Hawkes and Dunnings classification of the buckles, even though it is over 40 years old, is still used by many in Britain, while on the continent, other classification systems are also used, particularly Sommerís. In order to avoid confusion, we have used a simple descriptive classification, which hopefully will be easily understood by both experts and non-experts, and which should be flexible enough to incorporate any new discoveries. Much of this site is original research, but obviously it owes a big debt to Hawkes and Dunningís original pioneering work.

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Copyright © May 2005, Laycock & Marshall, All Rights Reserved.