Archaeologists hope that a small brooch uncovered
at a Roman fort, may reveal secrets about the men who built
The soldier's expensive and prestigious cloak
brooch was found at Vindolanda Roman settlement in Northumberland.
It belonged to Quintus Sollonius, part of a
detachment of legionary soldiers sent to assist in the building of
the 74-mile long wall which was erected between AD 121-127.
Historians examining the artefact describe it as a
The brooch, which is just under four centimetres
(two inches) in diameter, incorporates the figure of Mars, the Roman
god of war, wearing body armour and sandals, standing alongside two
These shields could mean Quintus Sollonius was a
veteran of campaigns against the Dacians in what is now Romania
conducted by the emperor Hadrian's predecessor, Trajan.
'Big and flashy'
Robin Birley, Vindolanda director of excavations,
said: "It is a fantastic find because nothing like this has ever
been seen before.
"It is further proof that there were legionnaires
in Northumberland at the time of the building of Hadrian's Wall."
Mr Birley added that the brooch was a very
impressive object and showed that Quintus Sollonius was a very
senior soldier - probably a non-commissioned officer with at least
twenty years' experience.
"It is a very expensive object and he would have
been very annoyed to have lost the brooch, which fastened the cloak
at the shoulder.
"But it is quite big and flashy and difficult to
lose, so one suspects that perhaps it was stolen."