Kent Archaeological Review extract

A Roman Bronze Nail-Cleaner from Hayes, Kent.
by Mike Hickson.

DRAWING: The bronze nail-cleaner.

The bronze nail-cleaner. (Drawn by Mike Hickson).

[Note: the drawing of the object in the original KAR is "Scale 1:1". This would make it some 2.15 inches or 55 milimetres long.]

During the excavations carried out by the West Kent Group at Baston Manor, Hayes, in 1964, a very fine bronze object was discovered in the cold-plunge of the Roman bath building. The object, here illustrated, can be identified as a nail-cleaner. The forked end was for the cleaning operation while a ring, which could also have held other toilet instruments, would have passed through the pierced hole. The pattern is simple, consisting of two groups of incised lines. This example was found in a deposit dated to the first half of the second century AD. These nail-cleaners have been found on a number of Roman sites in Britain of varying dates. Later examples tend to be more elaborately decorated with incised patterns, usually abstract but sometimes depicting figures such as the monster shown on one from Richborough (Rich. II (1928), page 47, Number 34). Shapes varied widely and often the main body was greater in width.

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