BERK-5DED86: Early-medieval brooch: Cross on bird brooch

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Unique ID: BERK-5DED86

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A complete cast copper-alloy brooch of cross-on-bird form dating to the middle early-medieval period. The brooch is in the shape of a bird, possibly a dove (symbol of the Holy Spirit), in profile and facing left with a Christian cross projecting upwards from the centre of its back. The bird has a rounded head with slightly downward-pointing beak, and crude but discernable representations of a folded wing (in slightly higher relief), tail and two feet. Linear scores have been used to represent feathers. Between the feet (which are joined) is a drilled hole, possibly to aid fixing to a garment, or possibly for the suspension of another element of the brooch that is now missing. The cross is of Greek shape and decorated with a groove running longitudinally along each arm. There are the remains of a thin, green-yellow coating over the bird and cross, possibly enamelling.

The reverse of the brooch is roughly finished; two integrally cast transverse loops, possibly for the pin fitting, remain. There is no indication of a spring or hinge mechanism.

A gilded-silver parallel can be found on the PAS database at SUSS-44F203, and a plain silver one at KENT-9F6987. Cross-on-bird brooches made from copper-alloy are recorded on the PAS database at SF-7B3CA5, BERK-5DED86 and SF-BCC403. Cross-on-bird brooches are a relatively uncommon type, with finds recorded by Pedersen (2001) from Denmark (fig. 11b), England (fig. 19c), Germany (figs. 20 and 22) and France (fig. 21). Their date-range is thought to centre on c. 800 AD (Pedersen 2001, 64). Also see A. Gannon 2003, 114-5, where it is argued that one of these brooches (from Berinsfield) carries a fledgling rather than a cross on its back.

The relationship of these to the later bird brooches from Denmark and England without crosses on their backs (e.g. NMS-E7F720) is uncertain.


Included in Weetch 2013 as catalogue no. 915.

Find of note status

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

Class: bird
Sub class: Weetch type 30.B

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Middle
Subperiod to: Middle
Date from: Circa AD 750
Date to: Circa AD 850

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 25.68 mm
Width: 27.97 mm
Thickness: 7.08 mm
Weight: 6.8 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 1st January 2011 - Wednesday 18th May 2011

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Other reference: 2011.062

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)
District: West Berkshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Boxford (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SU4475
Four figure Latitude: 51.47226
Four figure longitude: -1.367902
1:25K map: SU4475
1:10K map: SU47NW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Pedersen, A. 2001 Rovfugle eller duer Fugleformede fibler fra den tidlige middelalder Copenhagen Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskriftselskab

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: BERK
Created: 10 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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