NMS-8FD211: Early Early Medieval brooch

Rights Holder: Norfolk County Council
CC License:

Rights Holder: Norfolk County Council
CC License: All Rights Reserved

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Unique ID: NMS-8FD211

Object type certainty: Possibly
Workflow status: Published Find published

Description: Incomplete Early-Medieval Frankish gilded silver radiate-headed brooch. Worn semi-circular head-plate with five integrally cast collared knobs, the plate with a crescent-shaped panel of counter-relief decoration comprising four large spirals within a beaded border. The spirals are arranged so that the two on the left are both clockwise and form a reversed S; they are then linked by a ridge to the spiral on the far right, which turns anti-clockwise. The near-right spiral is detached and turns anti-clockwise.

The short, flattened bow has a cross-shaped moulding with worn pairs of engraved lines on the horizontal arms, and traces of a possible line of dots on the vertical arms (comprising a single dot at both ends but otherwise worn away). The four panels of the field each contain a worn raised area, also with traces of bordering lines of punched dots. The bow is broken along the lower edge where the foot is missing. There is the stump of a single pin bar lug on the reverse of the head-plate, broken across the perforation for the missing pin.

Gilding survives in the detail on the headplate, on the transverse lines of the knops, and in the engraved detail of the bow; it was probably originally entirely gilded. The break is very worn.

Dimensions: Surviving length 32mm. Width of headplate 34.5mm, of bow 11.5mm. 2.5mm thick. Weighs 6.86g.

Discussion: Radiate-headed brooches are a Frankish type and are not common in England. The few similar examples of five-knobbed headplates on the PAS database include two in copper alloy, from Costessey in Norfolk (NMS-4069A0) and East Kent (KENT-F97E52). The latter has similar spiral decoration with a reversed-S to the left and an S to the right; this decoration is also found on a brooch from Mill Hill, Deal (grave 92, brooch 92g; Parfitt and Brugmann 1995, 43) and three from Marchélepot in France, now in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum (MacGregor 1997, no.65.6 and pair no. 65.12). The British Museum has two, one from Herpes in France (1905,0520.211) and another from Howletts in Kent (1918,0711.2).

Date: This type of radiate-headed brooch is dated the first half of the sixth century AD by Werner (1961), and to Kentish Phase III (530 to 570AD) by Parfitt and Brugmann (1995, 43, 105 and Table 11).


As this object is made of more than 10% precious metal and is over 300 years old, it constitutes potential Treasure under the Treasure Act 1996.

Class: radiate headed

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Norfolk Museums Service Norwich Castle Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2014T434


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Ascribed Culture: Frankish
Date from: Circa AD 500
Date to: Circa AD 570

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 32 mm
Width: 34.5 mm
Thickness: 2.5 mm
Weight: 6.86 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 13th March 2014 - Wednesday 9th April 2014

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Steven Ashley
Identified by: Mr Steven Ashley
Secondary identifier: Dr Helen Geake

Other reference numbers

SMR reference number: 59782
Other reference: AMD042014
Treasure case number: 2014T434

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Norfolk (County)
District: South Norfolk (District)
Parish or ward: Morningthorpe and Fritton (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TM2392
Four figure Latitude: 52.48033148
Four figure longitude: 1.28253259
1:25K map: TM2392
1:10K map: TM29SW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Norfolk Museums Service Norwich Castle Museum

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMS
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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