LVPL-A4FDB2: Early Medieval: Zoomorphic strap end

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Unique ID: LVPL-A4FDB2

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

A complete copper-alloy strap end, of medieval date, probably 14th century. The terminal, upper plate and sides are made from one piece of metal, and the strap-end is sub-rectangular in both plan and cross-section. The attachment end tapers in side view and there is a small separate backplate. Only about 50% of the back plate is present, consisting of a small piece of sheet copper alloy metal, rectangular in plan, with a small copper alloy rivet, placed centrally and not visible on the front, securing it in place. It does not extend to the end of the strap-end. The attachment end does not appear to have been decorated; one empty rivet hole, pierced off centre, is present.

The terminal consists of a zoomorphic design in the form of a long stylised dog's head with two pointed ears. Two incised chervons decorate the top of the dog's head, perhaps indicating the brow or eyes. The dog's snout then narrows in a concave curve before flaring at the nose. A small, thin, elaborate cross or trefoil extends from the mouth. The underside of the dog's head is not decorated.

The strap end is a mid to dark green colour, with an even surface patina. Abrasion, caused by movement whilst in the plough soil, has resulted in a loss of surface detail.It measures 49.33mm in length, 5.52mm wide and 4.50mm thick; it weighs 4.6g.

Although Hammond (2010, 50) has identified this style of strap end as dating to the 8th or 9th century, this is clearly erroneous and there are many good medieval parallels for three-dimensional terminals. The cross-shaped terminal is well known from composite strap-ends, and is found in a context of c. 1270-c. 1350 in London (Egan and Pritchard 1991, no. 671). The construction, cast in one piece with a separate sheet backplate, is paralleled in smaller strap-ends with three-dimensional terminals, usually in the shape of human heads. One from London comes from a context of c. 1350-c. 1400 (Egan and Pritchard 1991, no. 614) and there are two from Meols (Egan 2007, nos. 1544 and 1545). The style of the animal head is also common on medieval objects such as copper-alloy vessel spouts and handles.

A search on the PAS database has turned up 7 examples, with a northerly distribution. It does not appear to be a common type of strap end. The record numbers for the PAS finds are as follows: from the East Riding of Yorkshire YORYM-2F3636; from South Yorkshire SWYOR-2202E4; from North Yorkshire SWYOR-93D523 and NLM-19A2D7; from West Yorkshire SWYOR-3F8156 (this is more like the human-headed type); and from Lincolnshire LIN-E09DB2 and LIN-6EF4E6.

Some other strap-ends (such as NCL-931305 and SWYOR-7C3A47) appear to be of a different, earlier type.

An example is known from Church Close, Hartlepool, there found in a late 14th- to late 15th-century context (Jackson in Daniels 1991, 371-371; fig. 23, no. 22).

Egan, G. 2007. Later Medieval non-ferrous metalwork and evidence for metal working: AD 1050-1100 to 1500-50 in Griffiths, Philpott & Egan 2007. p77-187.

Griffiths, D., Philpott, R.A. and Egan, G. 2007. Meols: The Archaeology of the North Wirral Coast. Oxford University School of Archaeology: Monograph 68. Institute of Archaeology. University of Oxford.

Hammond, B. 2010. British Artefacts. Volume 2: Middle Saxon & Viking. Greenlight Publishing. Witham.

Find of note status

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

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1300
Date to: Circa AD 1400

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 49.33 mm
Width: 5.52 mm
Thickness: 4.5 mm
Weight: 4.6 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Teresa Gilmore
Identified by: Miss Teresa Gilmore

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Thwing (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TA0669
Four figure Latitude: 54.105973
Four figure longitude: -0.380257
1:25K map: TA0669
1:10K map: TA06NE
Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LVPL
Created: 8 years ago
Updated: 3 months ago

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