ESS-C60241: Roman to Early Medieval Buckle

Rights Holder: Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service
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Unique ID: ESS-C60241

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Copper-alloy strap fitting, possibly for a purse hanger, dating to the Medieval period, consisting of an arched frame and openwork plate. The frame is broadly D-shaped in plan, with a straight bar and a curving three-arched outer edge and two projections pointing inwards, ending in expanded ovoid terminals between smaller rounded knops. Two moulded ridges are situated between the lobes which extend slightly beyond the outer edge. A curving and projecting knop extends from the upper and lower outer corners. The frame is D-shaped in section with a flat back and convex front.

The plate is broadly rectangular and consists of a flat sheet of copper alloy which is bent around the circular-sectioned bar. There are five openwork motifs on the plate, three parallel, located close to the bar and two parallel towards the plate edge. The plate has stepped shoulders forming a frame recess to accommodate the slightly expanded corners of the bar and continues c. 13mm away from it on the reverse. The outer edge of the plate on the reverse is stepped following the openwork pattern on the front. Two circular holes are situated at the corners of the plate, on both the front and back plate, which would have accommodated rivets, now lost. The rivets would have held the leather strap in place between the front and back parts of the plate. A third probable rivet hole is located in the centre of the plate. It appears smaller than those towards the strap bar but equally deliberate. The front of the plate is decorated with elaborate incised patterns which appear to in turn have been decorated with a lighter rocker-arm pattern. The top and bottom edges are bordered by a rectangular box with ring and dot motifs repeating within. The inner edge at the bar is bordered by a rectangular box with a repeating bisected-ovoid pattern. The pattern in the centre of the plate follows the design of the openwork motifs with curving lines following the circular section and straight lines running parallel to the rectangular area. In the spare between each rectangular openwork area, saltires are engraved with ancillary lines between. The reverse is undecorated.

The frame measures 49.8mm in length, c. 28.9mm in width and 3.2mm in thickness. The plate measures 56.1mm in length, 47.2mm in width and 0.8mm in thickness (4.8mm in thickness at the bend around the strap bar). The object measures c. 81.8mm in length, 47.2mm in width and weighs 21.85g.

Compare NLM-16B710, which also has a fragment of plate attached. These mounts were used to attach items to the belt. They are dated largely on the basis of French stone sculptures dating from the mid 13th to mid 15th centuries (Egan and Pritchard 1991, 219-225).

Find of note status

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

Class: hanger

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1250
Date to: Circa AD 1450

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 81.8 mm
Width: 47.2 mm
Thickness: 4.8 mm
Weight: 21.85 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Friday 15th March 2013

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Katie Marsden
Identified by: Miss Katie Marsden
Secondary identifier: Dr Helen Geake

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Saffron Walden Receipt 1888

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Essex (County)
District: Uttlesford (District)
To be known as: Hatfield Heath

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Other
Specific landuse: Land boundary

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: ESS
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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