NLM-079FF6: Early Medieval Plate Brooch

Rights Holder: North Lincolnshire Museum
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Unique ID: NLM-079FF6

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

Copper alloy Plate Brooch. Cast rectangular plate with a central drilled aperture of diameter 3.3mm. The aperture falls in the middle of an equal armed cross with very slightly flaring arms. The design comprises sunken fields, each arm being 2.1mm wide, each with a central cabled or billeted rib 1.2mm wide standing in relief. A sunken compartment circa 4mm square is set in each angle of the cross; two opposed compartments are empty, the other pair are filled by a ground of blue enamel with a central round field of white enamel and a central round dot of red enamel. It appears possible that these are rendered by use of slices of a simple millefiori rod. The back of the plate has a projecting L shaped lug or catch plate at one corner, and a scar opposite where the other part of the fastening gear has been lost.

The finder suggests a Roman date, but Mackreth's 2011 survey of Romano-British brooches includes nothing like this, and the plate brooches he illustrates are invariably larger. For a Roman brooch a cross may have served as a decorative geometric design; it was not favoured as a motif by Roman Christians, who were especially sensitive to its recently disgraceful connotations. However, a rhomboid brooch with knops and extensive enamel decoration reported in Somerset is ascribed to continental manufacture in the later Roman period (SOM-1FBF61). The insular appearance of millefiori usually suggests imported skills, styles or materials.

Alternatively, this object may be of Early Medieval date, and may be related to either Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Scandinavian brooches worn by converts, who could be more assertive of the cruciform symbol. The motif of the hanging god (in the guise of Woden/Odin) was more familiar and less negatively loaded to Germanic peoples, and as well as its Christian sectarian significance it by then connoted an association with the historical and cultural power of Rome. Suggested date: Unknown, Late Roman to Early Medieval, 300-1000.

Length: 15.3mm, Width: 14.7mm, Thickness: 1.7mm, Weight: 2.05gms.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: UNKNOWN
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: ROMAN
Subperiod to: Late
Date from: Circa AD 300
Date to: Circa AD 1000

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 15.3 mm
Width: 14.7 mm
Thickness: 1.7 mm
Weight: 2.05 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 5th March 2013

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Martin Foreman
Identified by: Mr Martin Foreman

Other reference numbers

Other reference: NLM22015

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with enamel

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Lincolnshire (County)
District: West Lindsey (District)
To be known as: Brookenby

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NLM
Created: 6 years ago
Updated: About one month ago

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