SWYOR-7346E4: Crucifix : Post-medieval

Rights Holder: West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service
CC License:

Rights Holder: West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service
CC License:

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Unique ID: SWYOR-7346E4

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A gold post medieval reliquary crucifix of Post-medieval date (AD1500-1800).

The object is in the form of a hollow cross with integral and incised decoration on all surfaces. Each of the ends of cross have a stylized leaf quatrefoil with a central, projecting knop with the exception on the uppermost end from which a circular suspension loop projects. The front of the object shows the figure of Christ with a crown of thorns, radiate crown and loincloth; the nails are visible going through the hands and the crossed feet. Above the figure an incised rectangular border runs around the inscription INRI ("Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews"), also incised. At the foot of the figure is an incised skull and crossbones within a square of green enamel, glass or nielo inlay.

The reverse panel is decorated with the integral figures of the Virgin Mary and Christ child with incised decoration to either side and below. The incised decoration below consists of a crossed arrow and spear flanked by two arrow and an arrow between the crossed spear and arrow shafts. The incised decoration to either side of the figures consists of a crosses spearhead and hammer/axe. A minor amount of green glass or enamel inlay in retained within the left and right incised pattern.

Each of the sides of the object has an incised, upper linear border, below which is an inscription. These read: IN HOC SIGNO VINCES (written VINCES/IN/HOC/SIGNO). This translates as "under this sign you shall conquer". The origins in Christianity of this phrase are ascribed to the Emperor Constantine in AD 312 who saw a bright cross of light against the noonday sky and upon it the inscription - In hoc signo vinces. This vision of heaven lead Constantine to set troops against his rival Maxentius at Rome's Milvian Bridge this resulted in Constantine's victory and his rival Maxentius and many of his troops drowning in the Tiber.

This inscription is the same also used by the Knights Templar around their symbol of a red cross and can be found around some Masonic symbolism.

The object is hollow with a void which respects the shape of the crucifix and this object is therefore a reliquary. The internal void shows no decoration. The back panel is flat with an upper loop and two lower spurs to affix it to the back of the object. The pin is absent.

Within the objects void when initially discovered a small creamy grey pitted object was found, this has been retained within the body of the object. This was examined by Caroline Cartwright who reports: "I have examined the grey item from in amongst the soil fragments and modern root particles inside the reliquary. It is not bone. It appears to be a friable, crystalline material, looking something like a very fine lime plaster."


As the object is made of gold and being older than 300 years old at the time of its recovery, the crucifix qualifies as Treasure under the terms of the Treasure Act 1996.

Class: crucifix
Inscription: I N R I // IN HOC SIGNO VINCES

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Doncaster Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2013T807


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1500
Date to: Circa AD 1800

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 43.28 mm
Width: 28.39 mm
Thickness: 9.31 mm
Weight: 15.59 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Wednesday 6th November 2013 - Wednesday 6th November 2013

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Ellie Cox
Identified by: Ms Dora Thornton
Secondary identifier: Miss Ellie Cox

Other reference numbers

Other reference: PAS 2265
Treasure case number: 2013T807

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Secondary material: Enamel
Decoration style: Figurative
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with other or unknown

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Doncaster (Metropolitan District)
District: Doncaster (Metropolitan District)
To be known as: Skellow

Spatial coordinates

Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Doncaster Museum
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SWYOR
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 4 months ago

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