NMS-192D40: Early Medieval brooch (Illustration)

Rights Holder: Norfolk Museum Service
CC License:

Rights Holder: Norfolk Museum Service
CC License:

Image use policy

Our images can be used under a CC BY attribution licence (unless stated otherwise).


Unique ID: NMS-192D40

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Early Saxon copper alloy equal-armed brooch, facetted D-sectioned bow with flattened median band decorated with double line of stamped annulets between three engraved lines, rectangular panels defined by double transverse lines and with deep notch at each outside edge, elaborate cruciform terminals with incised notches at angles and four drilled holes forming both crosses, perforations outlined with stamped annulets and stamp of twin semi-circles, bordered at outer edges by twin incised lines and outward- facing stamps of twin semi-circles, single pierced lug with corroded fragment of iron pin and catch-plate on reverse, 24 x 58mm. Very fresh and crisp condition.

This is clearly Early Anglo-Saxon in date, although it bears some resemblance to later ansate brooches such as the example from Little Barningham (Medieval Archaeology (2005) 338 and 341, fig. f). Its details are different to those that can be noted from late Merovingian/Carolingian brooches with cruciform terminals, and are closer to those common on early Anglo-Saxon types.

The terminals appear to be copied from the head-plates of small-long brooches of Leeds's cross potent derivative type, which also have square cut-outs in the corners and four holes, e.g. examples from Rothwell, Northamptonshire, and Little Wilbraham, 79, Cambridgeshire (Leeds 1945, fig. 10e-f). For parallels on the PAS database, see LIN-4EB8E0 (also with stamped decoration), SF-BA4FE3 and SF-04F3DD.

The facets at the ends of the bow also occur on cruciform brooches and small-long brooches and do not occur on later ansate brooches.

This type of brooch is very uncommon; it may be an experimental form of the 6th century, based on the more usual Anglian 'bow tie' form of equal-arm brooch, but copying their terminals from other types of jewellery. According to Bente Magnus (1999, 164-6), one of the two main forms of 6th-century Scandinavian equal-arm brooches was created by joining two foot-plates of small square-headed brooches together with a bow, and it is conceivable that the maker of this brooch did something similar. The combination of two feet from small-long brooches is more common, seen on long equal-arm brooches such as HAMP-2BABC7 and BH-825EB9 (and see Ager in Annable and Eagles 2010, 26-27 for a fuller expression of this hypothesis).

Another brooch, from Brunel Way, Thetford, uses the form of two trefoil-headed head-plates from small-longs in a similar way as matching terminals (Penn and Andrews 2000, 428, fig. 11A).

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon
Date from: Circa AD 400
Date to: Circa AD 600

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 58 mm
Width: 24 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Friday 1st August 2008 - Tuesday 30th September 2008

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Katherine Robbins
Identified by: Mr Steven Ashley
Secondary identifier: Mr Barry Ager

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Norfolk (County)
District: Broadland (District)
To be known as: Beighton

Spatial coordinates

Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

Similar objects

Find number: DENO-C766ED
Object type: BROOCH
Near-complete but rather battered copper-alloy equal-arm brooch. The brooch is bow-tie shaped with a flat, flared sub-triangular plate to eith…
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Find number: NMS-EE1EC1
Object type: BROOCH
Early Saxon copper alloy Leeds cross-pattee derivative small-long brooch, rectangular head, lower edge with small notch on either side of bow…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Find number: NMS-2F8EF3
Object type: BROOCH
Incomplete Early Saxon small-long brooch, related to Leeds’ trefoil-headed type, very corroded with damaged semi-circular arms projecting fr…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMS
Created: 10 years ago
Updated: 6 months ago

Other formats: this page is available as qrcode json xml geojson pdf rdf representations.