Roman peacock brooch

Photo: The Portable Antiquities Scheme CC By SA2.0
Object type: Brooch
Period: Roman
Primary material: Copper alloy
Date found: 25/06/2022
Location: Test Valley, Hampshire


A copper-alloy and enamel brooch in the form of a peacock dating to the 2nd century AD. It has been designated a Find of Note of Regional Importance.

Peacock symbolism

The Romans seem to have particularly liked the peacock as it a common feature on mosaics and frescos. The bird is associated with the Roman goddess Juno (and her Greek counterpart, Hera). The story goes that Juno was displeased by her watchman, Argus, and transferred his 100 eyes to the peacock.

There was a belief at the time that the flesh of the peacock did not decay. Also, its tail feathers regrew each year. This led the peacock to symbolise immortality and renewal.