My son picked this up for a few bucks at a flea market. The guy selling it seemed fairly honest about labeling stuff when he could identify it and letting you know when it was “something probably Roman” or “Likely medieval”, etc. Anyway, this was labeled as “Roman/Medieval” but he didn’t have any other info on it. I’m sure it got dredged up somewhere and sold in a bulk lot.
I’m pretty sure it’s bronze but, aside from that I’m at a loss. It could, of course, be some decorative bit like a pendant but I thought I’d throw it out there and see if anyone had a clue.
Part of a clasp, the frog type, the other peice would have a rounded head that goes through the largest hole and hooks the other end, from the size of it for a clasp to a heavy leather type cloak. Without the other peice can’t be sure.
Seriously, it looks vaguely similar in scale to an old bridle buckle we dug up in our (Midwestern US) yard this summer, but the 4 holes wouldn’t make any sense for that. It also looks too delicate to be used with heavy strapping or for anything requiring great strength, so maybe a clasp for something made of fabric. In your photo, it looks like there is a decorative element cast into the piece (directly below the outermost holes).
Even if it didn’t start out that way, it would make a cool pendant :D.
Thanks, everyone. The clasp thing sounds the most logical but of course I invite any other ideas. Or lame jokes Maastricht, thanks for soliciting the expert opinion! I look forward to seeing if there’s any extra ideas from it.