Roman patterns - discover the designs and decorations of Roman times and create your own brooch

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.

In this activity, your class can try designing and making their own Roman brooch or belt design.

Download: Create your own Roman brooch PDF resource (2.2 MB)

Create your own Roman brooch

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

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

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

Step 3

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

Step 4

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?