Exploring Roman Patterns

Make a Roman brooch

Patterns used as decoration

This activity is also available in PDF format which can be downloaded and printed out. Please click here

Archaeologists are sometimes lucky enough to find Roman objects that have been finely decorated.

These drawings by artist Simon Terry are of metal objects that have been found by archaeologists working at Segedunum Roman Fort and feature brooches and a fastening from a horse's harness.

Circular patterned Roman brooch
Roman animal patterned brooch

Roman harness fastening
Circular Roman patterned brooch

Create your own Roman brooch - step-by-step

Can you use materials around your house to make your own Roman brooch or belt design? You can use these drawings to help you.

You could use:

  • An old lid
  • A small piece of tin foil
  • Cardboard
  • Wax crayons
  • Coloured pens
  • Scissors
  • Glue or sticky tape
  • Old nail varnish (remember to ask first and put some old paper underneath your lid!)

Step 1

Cardboard shapes stuck to green bottle top
Orange button stuck to shapes on bottle tope

Cut out cardboard shapes and stick them to your lid to make the pattern on your brooch.

If you have an old button or bead, you could stick this in the centre of your design.

Step 2

Bottle top covered in silver foil

Cover your lid with tin foil and gently rub the surface until you can clearly see your pattern.

Step 3

Crayon rubbed over silver foil to reveal pattern

Rub over the surface of your pattern very gently with a dark coloured crayon to give it that ‘ancient artefact’ look.

Step 4

Colour added to silver foil covering
Nail varnish added to silver foil object

Add some colour. You could use coloured pens or even some old nail varnish. Just remember to ask first and be careful it doesn’t get on your clothes.

Voilà! Your very own Roman brooch

Now for a little archaeology

If you’re feeling adventurous, ask someone at home to find a spot in the garden, or even in your room, to bury your brooch. Become an archaeologist and using an old paint brush, carefully try to excavate your brooch. Can you draw a map of where you found it?

Download the activity

If you would like to have a printout of the activity, please download the PDF here

Share your creations

We'd love to see your designs and brooches.

Tag us on Twitter at @SegedunumFort, use the #Seggyathome hashtag, or post them on our Facebook page.