NMS-BE3EB3: Sword Pommel Cap_Norfolk_Mileham

Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Unique ID: NMS-BE3EB3

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation


Late 6th to early 7th-century sword pommel cap.

Description of find

Silver gilt sword pommel cap, ovoid in plan, hemispherical in elevation, and hollow on the underside, with a perforation in the top for the tang, and two small holes on both faces, one of which is filled with hard grey material. Zoomorphic relief decoration, entirely removed through wear from the top and almost all of one face, is in Style II. On the better preserved face two interlacing beasts, with one head and one tail at both ends, form an arch over a semicircular border framing a space around the small hole. On the other face only one small patch of decoration is extant, a three-toed foot and a tail. In the centre there is a similar framed space around the hole. Both holes lie near the centres of roughly circular recesses, perhaps containing decorative inlays of some sort.


The holes probably contained rivets securing the object to the organic material of the hilt. However the cap may simply have been impaled on the tang and the rivets have been only decorative. This alternative is supported by the material remaining in one hole, perhaps fixative. No parallel for the form has been noted, the large majority of contemporary pommel caps being of 'cocked hat' type. The style of animal ornament suggests a late 6th to early 7th-century date.

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Norwich Castle Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2007T9


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Date from: AD 550
Date to: AD 650

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 23.5 mm
Width: 12 mm
Thickness: 11.5 mm
Weight: 6.54 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 15th October 2006

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2007T9

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver

Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

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

Spatial coordinates

Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Norwich Castle Museum
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMS
Created: 13 years ago
Updated: 11 years ago

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