Young Boy Discovers Rare Ancient Roman Treasure In Sussex, UK

Jan Bartek - - Children are often curious by nature, and they tend to pay attention to things adults would not even bother looking at.

The world of archaeology has seen numerous remarkable discoveries made by young enthusiasts, and 12-year-old Rowan Brannan is the latest addition to this list. While on a walk with his mother Amanda and dog in the Pagham area of Bognor, Sussex, Rowan stumbled upon an extraordinary artifact. He spotted a rare gold Roman bracelet in a field, adding yet another significant discovery to the rich tapestry of archaeological finds.

Young Boy Discovers Rare Ancient Roman Treasure In Sussex, UK

Left: Rowan, from Bognor, Sussex, found the 'exceptionally rare' gold treasure during a dog walk in the Pagham area. Credit: Amanda Kenyon / SWNS
Right: The Roman bracelet of armilla type has since been studied by the British Museum. Credit: Amanda Kenyon / SWNS

"Rowan has always been into finding all sorts of bits and pieces, he's very adventurous and is always picking stuff up off the floor," his mother Amanda says. Rowan brought the object home and researched whether it was genuine gold. It fulfilled all the requirements on his checklist, but neither he nor Amanda realized its true significance until a visit from their hairdresser.

The hairdresser mentioned she was attending a metal detecting event, prompting Rowan to share about his recent discovery. Intrigued by the find, she took a photograph and later showed it to the leader of her metal-detecting group. Recognizing its antiquity, he advised that Amanda and Rowan contact a Finds Officer for further evaluation.

Young Boy Discovers Rare Ancient Roman Treasure In Sussex, UK

Rowan's ancient Roman treasure. Credit: British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme

Rowan described how the excitement kept building over the months following his discovery.

"We took it to the jeweler and that got me a bit excited, and when it was sent away and it was like "gold" and then it got more exciting. Then it got to the treasure process," Rowan said.

The Finds Liaison Officer was very interested, and the bracelet has been examined by the British Museum.
Experts have identified the object discovered by Rowan as a Roman armilla bracelet dating back 2,000 years. In the Roman Empire, bracelets were typically worn by women as an indication of their social status. Men generally did not wear bracelets due to their association with femininity. However, there were exceptions for soldiers with exceptional bravery or merit. A Roman general would publicly award these individuals armilla bracelets; the soldiers wore them as badges of honor.

The item in question is a fragment, not a complete circular bangle. Its value lies in its age of over 300 years, and it is made from a precious metal. After evaluation, Rowan was informed that such an artifact is extraordinarily uncommon for someone to stumble upon during a casual dog walk.

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Amanda further expressed her excitement about the discovery: "It's been brilliantly fascinating. We have learnt so many things, and it is quite lovely to still be involved so we can follow its story. It's like, wow—imagine who wore that. We have had a piece of history in our house."

It is, without doubt, a wonderful discovery, and who knows what will happen in the future. If Rowan keeps picking up objects he may soon find something more of archaeological value!

Written by Jan Bartek - Staff Writer