Another mystery Roman Dodecahedron found in England

A number of peculiar dodecahedral objects have been unearthed across northwestern Europe and identified as Roman in origin. The latest was found in England, a hotspot for the odd 12-sided metal items, by a volunteer with the Norton Disney History and Archaeology Group.

The Norton Disney dodecahedron is the only example found in the Midlands and is a particularly fine example. It is well cast, complete with no damage and in an excellent condition. It is an example of very fine craftsmanship, finished to a high standard. It is a copper alloy object. 75% copper, 7% tin and 18 % lead. It's overall height is 8cm. Its overall width is 8.6cm and weight 254g. It is also an important find in that it was found "in situ", where it was deliberately placed some 1700 years before with 4th century Roman pottery in some sort of excavated hole or quarry pit. The context of which will need more archaeological excavation to clarify in 2024.

The Smithsonian reports on the Roman dodecahedron's mysterious place in archeology—and what scientists suspect they might have been for: measuring devices, calendars, ornamental scepter toppers, weapons or tools." But the the finders in Lancashire say the leaden, fragile metal makes it a poor choice for these purposes and prefer one less mundane: magic.

"A huge amount of time, energy and skill was taken to create our dodecahedron, so it was not used for mundane purposes," writes the group, adding: "They are not of a standard size, so will not be measuring devices. They don't show signs of wear, so they are not a tool." Instead, the group agrees with experts who think dodecahedrons were used for ritualistic or religious purposes. As Smithsonian magazine wrote last year, researchers at Belgium's Gallo-Roman Museum have hypothesized that Romans used the objects in magical rituals, which could explain dodecahedrons' absence from historical records: With the Roman Empire's eventual embrace of Christianity came laws forbidding magic. Practitioners would have had to keep their rituals—and related objects—a secret.