To celebrate Valentine’s Day today, we are sharing the love with this copper-alloy heart-shaped stud recovered from an excavation in the North of England. It is enamelled, with four small yellow circles set in a dark-blue field. It has a single shank on the reverse for attachment and it was probably a decorative stud on a horse harness or soldier’s gear.
This stud dates to the 2nd century and its form is actually a heart-shaped ivy leaf with pointed lobes projecting from either side. This symbol has associations with Bacchus, god of vegetation, wine and pleasure. It has also been used as a as a symbol that is said to be powerful against the ‘evil eye’, often being combined with other apotropaic (used to ward off evil) symbols such as the phallus to increase its efficacy. The heart symbol we recognise today is a medieval or renaissance invention but may have been derived from depictions of ivy leaves such as this.
#howdeepisyourlove #spreadthelove #tellmeaboutitstud #shapeofmyheart