SOM-A3C7D6: Early-medieval button brooch

Rights Holder: Somerset County Council
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Unique ID: SOM-A3C7D6

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

A copper-alloy button brooch of early-medieval date (5th - 6th century AD), of Class C. This example is incomplete in so far as its iron pin been lost to corrosion; a trace of corrosion product is present adjacent to one of the lugs (now so abraded that one cannot distinguish the pin lug from catch-plate). The rim is upturned (H.: 3.2mm) and very slightly flared. The upper surface is decorated with a central moulded anthropomorphic face-mask viewed straight on within a line border. The helmet is formed a pair of nested peltaic outlines. The eyebrows and nose are formed of a single T-shaped piece characterised by long, curved arms, and a thickened nose. The eyes are sub-oval with curved raised lines below that nest with thickened raised cheeks beyond. One eye is smaller than the other, though the whole surface has suffered from corrosion and this might be a product of this to an extent. There is no discernible mouth. No gilding survives on the upper surface of the brooch.

The reverse of the brooch has the remains of two abraded sub-trapezoidal lugs at 3 and 9 o'clock respectively, aligned along the width of the face. The brooch has a dark green patina with some patches of lighter corrosion product.

Katie Hinds (Hampshire FLO) kindly notes that: the helmet is similar to a couple of Class C examples, 2.8 and 2.9 from Alfriston, and 16.2 from Harnham Hill (Avent & Evison 1982, Pl. XV). The eyes-and-no-mouth arrangement can be seen on Class Iii examples, 1.3 and 1.4 from Abingdon (ibid., Pl. XVI), though the eyes are a bit more angular than on this example.

Professor Seiichi Suzuki (pers. comm. 8th May 2014) confirms that this brooch is best classified as a Class C example, as he notes, 'based as it is primarily on the hair/helmet characteristic of this class'. He continues 'the closest examples within this class seem to be the group comprising Bisham (Berkshire), Keymer (West Sussex), and Upham (Hampshire). The absence of the mouth on the item at issue may further suggest that it would have been a degenerate variant. The distribution of Class C in the southern regions down to Wiltshire in the west also fits nicely with the suggested classification.'


Drawing to follow

Find of note status

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

Class: button

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon
Date from: Circa AD 475
Date to: Circa AD 550

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 6.7 mm
Thickness: 3.2 mm
Weight: 3.59 g
Diameter: 18.7 mm

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Robert Webley
Identified by: Mr Robert Webley
Secondary identifier: Prof Seiichi Suzuki

Other reference numbers

Other reference: SCC receipt 22374

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Decoration style: Figurative
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Somerset (County)
District: Sedgemoor (District)
To be known as: Pawlett CP

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SOM
Created: 5 years ago
Updated: 5 years ago

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