SUR-47F8A7: Early medieval: Gilded mount for casket or book

Rights Holder: Surrey County Council
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Unique ID: SUR-47F8A7

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A diamond-shaped and slightly domed sheet metal strip brooch of Middle Saxon date (c.AD780-820). Traces of gilding survive. The brooch is well-preserved findspot, although the edges are a little 'nibbled' away with a certain amount of bright green 'bronze disease' visible. The brooch is pierced by eight rivet holes which probably held a missing pin attachment. The obtuse angles are both eroded away but the edge of one rivet hole in each of the two angles is still visible (making eight in all). The brooch is divided by plain ribbons arranged in a saltire into four diamond-shaped compartments each containing elements of stylised zoomorphic decoration.

A close parallel is shown in Mills 2001 (68, AS160), unfortunately without provenance. Leslie Webster comments: This is certainly a fine and unusually stylized version of characteristic 8th century animal head volutes, as per my chapter 'The Anglo-Saxon Hinterland: animal style in Southumbrian eighth-century England, with particular reference to metalwork' in Michael Müller-Wille and Lars Olof Larsson (eds.) Tiere: Menschen:Götter - Wikingerzeitliche Kunststile und Ihre Neuzeitliche Rezeption; Veröffentlichen Joachim-Jungius-Gesellschaft des Wissenschaften Hamburg, vol 90, 2001. There are similar devices on various 8th cent pin heads and the Gandersheim casket metal mounts. Susan Youngs comments: Here the little beast heads with their pricked ears and tongues, which usually develop to encircle the head in a kind of volute have become extremely stylized, so that the encircling coil has become a series of separate circles, and the heads themselves are pretty formulaic. It's interesting that this seems to be a mount, not a brooch, which of course these lozenge-shaped items often are. I wonder if the lower two rivets are actually the remains of an original brooch catch and it has been subsequently adapted as a mount, as the obviously secondary lateral holes suggest? There are several of these lozenge-shaped plates with borders and demarcated fields, some with space at two apexes for holes making them pin links and I think narrower, some fitted as brooches with applied bits or holes for same. This does look from the position of the various holes as though it was used as a decorative mount on box or cover at some point. The animal style is very distinctive indeed against the spirals and finials and I can't place the parallel I have seen for the heads, but not with these 'ears'. Otherwise the broad dividing lines and jaws put this c. 800. But the lines across the heads and the tight spirals are striking and on their own for the moment.


Not included in Weetch 2013, because until 2017 it was recorded as a mount.

Find of note status

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

Class: strip
Sub class: Weetch type 31.C

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: With Northmberland Estates in Alnwick.


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Middle
Subperiod to: Middle
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon
Date from: Circa AD 780
Date to: Circa AD 820

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 67.87 mm
Width: 42.47 mm
Thickness: 1.3 mm
Weight: 13.64 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 1st June 2009

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr David W Williams
Identified by: Mr David W Williams

Other reference numbers

Other reference: 09.720

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Surrey (County)
District: Guildford (District)
Parish or ward: Albury (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TQ0547
Four figure Latitude: 51.212561
Four figure longitude: -0.498135
1:25K map: TQ0547
1:10K map: TQ04NE
Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: With Northmberland Estates in Alnwick.
General landuse: Woodland
Specific landuse: Mixed

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SUR
Created: 9 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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