'Roman' or 'native' bodies in Britain: the evidence of late Roman nail-cleaner strap-ends
Eckardt, H. and Crummy, N. (2006) 'Roman' or 'native' bodies in Britain: the evidence of late Roman nail-cleaner strap-ends. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 25 (1). pp. 83-103. ISSN 0262-5253
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0092.2006.00250.x
This paper reviews late Roman `nail-cleaner strap-ends', a group of objects first discussed by Hawkes and Dunning (1961). The precise function of these objects is unclear as their shape suggests use as toilet instruments but the split socket suggests that they were part of belt-fittings. We suggest a detailed typology and discuss the dating evidence and the spatial distribution of the type. Regardless of their precise function, it is argued in this paper that nail-cleaner strap-ends of this type are unique to late Roman Britain and thus represent a distinct regional type. The use of nail-cleaner strap-ends can be viewed in the context of gender associations, military status and religious beliefs.