Anglo-Saxon Pendant or Bracteate

This is a complete Early-Medieval (Anglo-Saxon) gold pendant from the 6th Century (c. AD 500 – c. AD 550) called a bracteate IOW-125794. More than 940 gold bracteates are known from the second half of the 5th and first half of the 6th centuries. Most of them have been found in Scandinavia but some 50 are from Anglo-Saxon England. Many come from wealthy female graves in eastern Kentish cemeteries. A few others come from East Anglia.

This bracteate consists of a gold sheet disc with a rim of beaded wire soldered to the edge at the front. There is decoration on the front which consists of an interlaced animal that is reflected on the reverse. The design was stamped with a die and the relief was then reworked with a pointed tool both from the front and back.

The find from near Shalfleet is linked stylistically to bracteates that have been found in Kent, East Anglia, Frisia, northern Germany and southern Scandinavia, especially Jutland, but there is no closely comparable design. With a weight of under 2 gr this pendant is lighter than the Scandinavian finds and comparable to the on average lighter Continental and English finds (Axboe 2007, p. 82ff.). The rather simple loop, the low weight and the design suggest that the bracteate was not an import but made locally.

Anglo-Saxon BRACTEATE 2008 T127
Anglo-Saxon Pendant. Copyright: Portable Antiquities Scheme. License: CC- BY