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Signet ring of silver and cornelian

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From Culbin Sands, Moray

Postcard of Signet ring of silver and cornelian.
© National Museums Scotland

Signet ring of silver and cornelian

This silver signet ring inset with a cornelian intaglio was found at Culbin Sands in Moray. Signet rings were used to authenticate Roman documents. When found beyond the Roman frontier, as here, they were valued as an object indicating status.

The inset intaglio depicts Silvanus, the Roman god of the countryside.

Brought to Scotland by the Romans, writing was a vital part of the bureaucracy generated by the army. Letters and parcels were sealed with beeswax or clay, sometimes pressed with a signet ring. Writing was not, however, adopted by the native population.

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Online ID: 000-100-102-416-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.BI 29463
Date: Between 100 and 200 AD
Material: Silver alloyed with copper; thick hoop; inset with a cornelian intaglio
Dimensions: 0.95" L
What: Ring, signet
Where: Scotland, Moray, Dyke and Moy, Culbin Sands
Description: Signet ring of silver alloyed with copper inset with a cornelian intaglio of Silvanus, from Culbin Sands, Moray, between 100 and 200 AD
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