WILT-BA0E35: Silver equal armed brooch

Rights Holder: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
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Unique ID: WILT-BA0E35

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Surface metal analysis conducted at the British Museum indicated an approximate silver content for the brooch of 93%, the rest being copper, gold and lead. The shattered gem was identified by Raman spectroscopy as garnet. The brooch is mercury gilded with traces of niello decoration and weighs 4.28 grams.

The brooch is of equal-armed form, consisting of two half-oval plates linked by a short, flat bow, but one of the plates is broken at the end and on one side; length, 31.8mm (surviving); width, 18.9mm. The complete plate has a small terminal knob and a raised frame with a row of small, punched triangles enclosing a field of chip-carved ribbing round an empty, half-oval setting next to the junction with the bow. The other plate is similarly decorated and has a shattered garnet in the setting and traces of black niello in the triangles. The bow is decorated with interlocking triangles along the centre and a double rib on each side.

The brooch represents a variant of a 6th-century type found also in the early Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Chessell Down, Isle of Wight; in Kent; at Mucking in Essex, and occasionally in France (C.J. Arnold, 1982, The Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries of the Isle of Wight, British Museum Press, 51, pl. 2h, figs 26:23 and 52; H. Hamerow, 1993, Excavations at Mucking, vol. 2: The Anglo-Saxon settlement, English Heritage Archaeological Report, no. 21, London, 61-2, fig. 173: GH190.1; C. Pilet et al., 1990, 'Les nécropoles de Giberville (Calvados), fin du Ve siècle - fin du VIIe siècle après J.-C.', Archéologie Médiévale, 20, 3-140, pl. 7: 30,2).

The brooch from the Salisbury area would therefore qualify as Treasure under two of the stipulated criteria of the Treasure Act: it is more than 300 years old and the precious metal content exceeds 10%.

The object is not disclaimed at either a local or a national level, since Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum has expressed an interest in acquiring it and the British Museum would attempt to do so should local efforts fail.

B.M. Ager
Department of Prehistory & Europe
British Museum

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2012T144


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Date from: Circa AD 500
Date to: Circa AD 600

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 31.61 mm
Width: 19.2 mm
Thickness: 7.74 mm
Weight: 4.28 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 8th January 2012

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Katie Hinds
Identified by: Mr Barry Ager

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Salisbury Museum Entry Form 3740
Treasure case number: 2012T144

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Secondary material: Gem
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Salisbury

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Salisbury & South Wiltshire Museum
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Operations to a depth less than 0.25 m

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: WILT
Created: 7 years ago
Updated: 6 months ago

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