A bronze Lorica Segmentata shoulder hinge for the Kalkriese(earliest) style of segmented plate armor. The standard armor for the Roman Legionary during Rome's prime.
This piece is only the rear section of the hinge which would have had an opposite symmetric piece connecting the other part of the shoulder hinge. The scribed concentric rings surrounding the rivets are still visible, consistent with other examples.
"There is precious little Kalkriese artifacts about. Unlike Corbridge
(and, to a lesser degree, Newstead) there is nothing like the complete (or
almost complete) suits that we have for the other two types. Nevertheless,
it has been recognized that there are a number of cases where the
fragments/fitments are from the earliest form of the armor. Thus, there
have also been such finds from Iruna, Windisch, Waddon Hill, Chichester,
Kaiseraugst, Oberwinterthur and Strasbourg as well. The example you have
here is of Type Fii (in my categoristion). There is similar type (Fi)
where the scalloped ends are more pointed, rather than rounded as here
(the 'F' type fitments are the shoulder hinges).
Also See KALKFRIESE (where drawing was obtained from)
This type of armor had many advantages over scale mail and chain mail, primarily being that it could withstand much harder impacts from pointed weapons while still allowing a good amount of flexibility. The only inherent weakness, at least on these earlier versions was that all the buckles and hinges could easily break and required constant repair. Furthermore the leather straps trapped in moisture on the iron, making it harder to keep corrosion free. This early version was also relatively hard to put on and invariably required a second person to do the buckles up. It was not until the Newstead type that the buckles, hinges and laces were largely done away with. (2)(3)(4)
Similar Example (1)
Site: Chichester (GBR) Context: Cattle market site, B83 Inventory No.: 1275 Reference: DOWN 1989: Down, A., 'Chichester Excavations 6', (Sussex, Phillimore): 202 & Fig.27.5, 80
Dimensions (from scale drawing): L: 21mm, W: 21mm Notes: Hinged sub-lobate plate of the 'Kalkriese' type. There are four rivets, disposed in two parallel rows, the rivet holes being surrounded by incised ring decoration. Fii/1
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(1) Reference: Thomas, M.D. (2003), "Lorica segmentata, A catalogue of finds", JRMES Monograph No.2(Chirnside).
(2) References to similar items: FEUGERE, Michel; Weapons of the Romans, page 103 2002.
(3) References to similar items: CONNOLLY, Peter; The Legionary, page 24 2000.
(4) References to similar items: CONNOLLY, Peter; Greece and Rome at War, page 229-230 1998.
(5) Reference to similar items: BISHOP, M.C & COULSTON, J.C.N; Roman Military Equipment "From the Punic wars to the Fall of Rome", page 98 2006.
*Image of Segmentata by P.CONNOLLY
**Note on background. Close up view of the wall of the Colosseum of Pula, Croatia. Picture taken 2014