BERK-545C74: West Hanney: Anglo-Saxon Kentish composite disc brooch

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Unique ID: BERK-545C74

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

A copper alloy Anglo-Saxon Kentish garnet inlaid composite disc brooch, dating to the middle of the 7th century AD. The brooch has four outer circular bosses and one larger central boss, all of a white material (possibly shell) surmounted with a small garnet (where surviving) and decorated with thin silver wire. Around the central boss are two circumferential tiers of cloisonné inlaid with garnets, underlain by thin gold foil to reflect the light. This is surrounded by panels of gold filigree ornament separated by triangular panels inlaid with cloisonné garnets. The outermost ring of decoration, probably cloisonné garnets, is missing, as is the most of the outer rim of the brooch, probably dislodged during ploughing and possibly during the initial excavation of the brooch. Several small copper alloy components of the brooch, including fragments of the outer rim, were recovered from samples taken during excavation. This fine decoration has been soldered and/or pinned onto a flat circular disc of copper alloy; the base of the brooch is another separate sheet of copper alloy, originally silvered, with the space between the two sheets filled with what may be a lead based putty. Further investigation may reveal the exact components of this paste.

The brooch was found by metal detector, and once removed from the ground skeletal remains were revealed in the excavated hole. A full excavation took place and revealed the grave of a female between 20 and 25 years of age. The brooch would have been placed on her left shoulder. Other grave goods include two hand-made vessels, two shards of glass, a spindle whorl and a broken iron blade. Investigation and analysis of the skeleton and grave goods is ongoing. Thanks are extended to Helena Hamerow (Oxford University) and Helen Geake (Cambridge University) for their aid with the description and identification.


This brooch is one of a small number known (c.20), and is currently the western-most example yet found. Two other composite disc brooches, both very similar in design, were excavated from Abingdon and Milton near Didcot during the 19th and 20th centuries. These are now displayed in the Ashmolean Musuem in Oxford and the V&A in London.

Thanks to Oxfordshire County Council for allowing the use of the image of the cleaned brooch. Copyright Ian Cartwright, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: National importance

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Museum Resource Centre
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by a museum - not a Treasure case

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2009T576


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon
Date from: Circa AD 610
Date to: Circa AD 660

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 20th September 2009

Rally details.

This object was found at West Hanney 2009

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Anni Byard
Identified by: Miss Anni Byard
Secondary identifier: Dr Helena Hamerow

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2009T576

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Gold
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Multiple

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Oxfordshire (County)
District: Vale of White Horse (District)
Parish or ward: West Hanney (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SU3992
Four figure Latitude: 51.62547247
Four figure longitude: -1.43800618
1:25K map: SU3992
1:10K map: SU39SE
WOEID: 26350155
Grid reference source: GPS (From FLO)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Museum Resource Centre
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Operations to a depth greater than 0.25m

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: BERK
Created: Thursday 20th May 2010
Updated: Monday 21st July 2014

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