BM-11BCC0: BM-11BCC0: 2012 T625 early medieval grave assemblage

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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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Rights Holder: The British Museum
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ASSEMBLAGE

Unique ID: BM-11BCC0

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Excavations were undertaken by English Heritage in 2003 and 2004. This work revealed a number of Anglo-Saxon inhumations, part of a larger cemetery dating to the 6th century AD. One of the graves, that of an adult female aged 25-35 contained a number of grave goods including a silver spoon (containing more than 10% precious metal), thus falling into the treasure category.

Description: Anglo-Saxon silver spoon in three pieces: bowl, handle and small triangular-shaped fragment from spoon bowl. The bowl has two perforations close to where it joins the handle and it also appears that an attempt was made to perforate the lower part of the handle. The handle has a looped terminal made from bending the copper alloy strip over on itself and this would have served as a means of suspension. The underside of the handle has a pattern on each edge made up from a series of interlocking semi-circular stamps. It is possible that the perforations to the bowl were deliberate in order to facilitate its use as a skimmer; however actual skimmers usually have five holes in the centre of the bowl. In addition, the perforations in this example do not appear to have been carefully made and could have resulted from damage to the artefact. Spoons and skimmers are commonly found on the continent and in England they have a distribution that is centred in the later fifth and sixth centuries on Kent. Dimensions: Total length 142mm. Diameter of bowl 45mm, depth of bowl c13mm. Weight 10g.

Great Square-Headed Brooch, Description: An Anglo-Saxon cast copper alloy great Square-headed brooch.The brooch consists of a head-plate, arched bow and foot-plate. The lower foot-plate was broken below the side lobes in antiquity and repaired by welding a copper alloy fixing plate to the underside of the brooch. It has since broken at this same point and now survives in two pieces. The pin arrangement is not intact: the catch has come away from the foot-plate but the hinge-lug, cast in one with the brooch, is still present and contains a small fragment of iron pin. The headplate is rectangular (with no top knob or lower borders), where the frame takes the form of eight masks with a linear hole between each, and the upper corners have a stylised face and two circular holes. The headplate inner has another mask figure and a curvilinear pattern. The bow is decorated with a continuation of this pattern. The footplate upper borders are square with a similar curvilinear pattern and two punch holes, and the side lobes repeat the stylised face design. It is possible that the holes were not only part of the design, but that they were also used to attach the brooch to the fabric as the brooch would be quite heavy to wear (Hines, 1997, 293). The inner panel and frame has the same design as on the headplate inner, and is bisected by the footplate bar, which may represent a sword. Finally, the foot plate ends in a terminal lobe with the stylised face design. The entire surface of the brooch is decorated by chip-carved ornament taking the form of Style I animal art and all areas in relief have been gilded and this finish survives in the decorative grooves, especially in the top right corner of the head-plate and right-hand side of the foot. Parallels are identified mainly in southern England (Upper Thames Valley, Surrey and Essex), with the nearest example being a short distance upriver at Blacknall Field, Pewsey, grave 21 (Stoodley 2010). Information on the production and repairs of the brooch have contributed to further understanding the brooch This type of brooch is of a form datable to the first half of the 6th Century AD, but the fact that it has been repaired suggests that it is more likely to date to the middle or second half of the century (Stoodley, 2006, 31).The catchplate has also become detached from the body of the brooch, as this was added after the brooch had been cast (Hines, 1997, 205). XRF analysis has suggested that the leaded bronze catchplate was held in place with a tin solder onto the bronze body. Further analysis suggests that it has been mercury gilded. Mineralised textile remains were found in three areas of the brooch. Z-spun flax or hemp was found on the back, wrapped around the pivot between two lugs of pin-support. A fragment of the iron brooch pin was enfolded in textile made from fine wool or goat-fibre, 8 x 4 mm, medium-weight fabric, woven from Z-spun yarns, 0.8 mm diameter. Lastly, 10mm in length of multi-strand cord, 1.5 mm in diameter, was observed, twisted in the S direction from Z-twisted bundles of approximately 5 Z-spun yarns. Excess soil and corrosion product was removed mechanically where possible, while 30%v/v formic acid in distilled water was used where more stubborn corrosion remained. It was decided that there was no need to rejoin the object as more information could be gained on the repair and future analytical investigation is still possible. Dimensions: The artefact has an overall length of 137 mm and maximum width of 70 mm (head-plate). Weight 90 g.

Saucer Brooch, Description: A late-6th century AD Anglo-Saxon cast copper alloy saucer brooch. There is very slight damage to the leading edge of the rim. The pin arrangement is fragmentary: the hinge-lug and catch plate are of bronze being cast in one with the brooch. The pin is missing but iron corrosion containing mineral preserved textile suggests that an iron pin would have been present. The decoration consists of an inner swastika, which is surrounded by a plain ring and is surrounded in turn by an outer design of radial bars; the whole enclosed by a pair of concentric rings. The front was originally mercury gilded. Although this finish has now worn away it still survives on the outer field of decoration, on parts of the rim and a small section of the inner field of decoration. Further analysis on the nature of the copper alloy has suggested that SF 4402 is a gunmetal. On the back of the brooch there is an area of poorly preserved textile, 15 x 12 mm. There are two features to the textile. The first is plied cord - Z2S, approximately 1.5 mm diameter; almost certainly flax -.found next to the pin-support lug and parallel to the pin, running from underneath textile to edge of brooch. The second is a medium-fine textile of uncertain weave - Z x Z; possibly wool - running under and over the brooch pin. It is thought that the brooch must clasp this fabric. Excess soil and corrosion product was removed mechanically where possible, while 30%v/v formic acid in distilled water was used where more stubborn corrosion remained. Dimensions: The artefact has a diameter of 38 mm and a maximum rim height of c. 5 mm high which is angled at c. 40°. Weight 15 g.

Saucer Brooch, Description: An Anglo-Saxon cast copper alloy saucer brooch. There is very slight damage to the leading edge of the rim. The pin arrangement no longer survives: only small sections of the pin catch and hinge-lug are present. The pin is missing, although the presence of iron corrosion containing mineral preserved textile suggests that an iron pin would have been present, while the hinge-lug and catch plate are of bronze being cast in one with the brooch. The decoration consists of an inner swastika, which is surrounded by a plain ring and is surrounded in turn by an outer design of radial bars; the whole enclosed by a pair of concentric rings. The front was originally mercury gilded (as suggested by XRF analysis), although much of this has now worn away and only survives in the grooves of the decorative features. Further analysis on the nature of the copper alloy has suggested that SF 4403 is either a bronze or a gunmetal. Excess soil and corrosion product was removed mechanically where possible, while 30%v/v formic acid in distilled water was used where more stubborn corrosion remained. Dimensions: The artefact has a diameter of 38 mm and a maximum rim height c. 5 mm, which is angled at c. 40°. Weight 13 g.

Composite iron bridle-bit, Description: An Anglo-Saxon composite iron bridle-bit (fig 6). It can be described as a cheek-ring snaffle (Fern 2005, 47-50) and it consists of two jointed bars, or 'cannons' fastened with a swivelling joint to the cheek piece which takes the basic form of a ring (Clark, 1995, 43). The rods are joined together by bending the terminals over to form loops that interlock. Likewise the other ends of the rods have been folded over to encircle the rings. One of the loops is still intact, while the other is fragmentary and survives as three separate pieces. One of the rings is in good condition, and still rotates; however, the other is broken into three pieces with one piece being corroded within the link loop. The 'cannons' were originally articulated, but have now become corroded and no longer move. The intact ring has two smaller iron rings attached to it, which are the surviving evidence for rein- and harness-connectors. This can be seen in the areas of leather which remain on the bit. On one face of one arm, 8 x 8 mm of textile was found the fibre was not identified and the weave and spin are unclear; c.10 x 10 threads per cm. Excess soil and corrosion products have been removed to clarify these joints and allow construction to seen. Dimensions: Diameter of intact loop 55 mm; length of bit to intact loop 73 m; length of bit to fragmentary loop 70 mm; maximum width of bit 13 mm. Overall weight 93 g

Penannular brooch, Description: A small sub-circular copper alloy penannular brooch, consisting of a thin narrow copper alloy band (fig 7). XRF analysis has suggested that the copper alloy used was bronze. The terminals of the loop are constructed by folding a section of each end of the loop (c.4mm) back on itself. Each terminal has had two grooves engraved to produce simple decoration. The shape of the band has been distorted and the pin arrangement no longer survives: small patches of corrosion may indicate that it was originally of iron. In these areas mineral preserved fibres can be seen. The small size and simple terminals of this brooch allows it to be identified as a Fowler Type D1 (Hull's type P.4) (Hattatt, 1994, 298) which uses the decoration of the terminals for classification (Bayley, 2004, 185). Specific dates can not be given to each type; it is only possible to suggest that this type of Penannular brooch was in use from the 1st Century ad until the 4th Century ad (Hattatt, 1993, 185). A single yarn, Z-spun 0.8 mm diameter, probably flax or hemp was found running ring. Dimensions: The ring has a maximum diameter of 26 mm and the band a maximum diameter of c. 2 mm. Weight 2 g.

Copper Alloy Strips:

Tiny fragment of copper alloy strip, Undiagnostic fragment bent in the middle. Dimensions: Length 14 mm; width 5 mm; weight <1 g.

Tiny fragment of copper alloy strip, Undiagnostic fragment bent at one end, Dimensions: Length 10 mm; width 6 mm; weight <1 g.

Tiny fragment of copper alloy, Undiagnostic fragment. Dimensions: Not measured; weight <1 g.

Numerous very tiny fragments of copper alloy, Undiagnostic fragments.

Several tiny fragments of copper alloy, Undiagnostic fragments.

Rings:

Small iron ring, Possible trace of a pin across the centre of the ring indicates that it might be a very small buckle loop. Dimensions: diameter 14 mm, weight <1 g

Small iron ring, Possible trace of a pin across the centre of the ring indicates that it might be a very small buckle loop. Dimensions: diameter 12 mm, weight <1 g.

Iron ring, Dimensions: diameter 31 mm, width 3 mm, weight 3 g

Miscellaneous ferrous objects:

Nine iron fragments, Most of these were originally part of an object consisting of iron strips of c. 10 mm in width. Two fragments have rivets joining two iron strips together and are possible iron binding for a timber vessel. In addition, there is an iron shaft with a looped end, which may have served as an upright from which the putative vessel was suspended.

Six iron fragments, ?Originally part of an object consisting of iron strips.

Sixteen iron fragments, ?Originally part of an object consisting of iron strips.

Four iron fragments, ?Originally part of an object consisting of iron strips.

Two iron fragments, ?Originally part of an object consisting of iron strips.

Two iron fragments, One is a fragment of an iron strip with a terminal made by bending the strip back on itself: 22mm x 6 mm, weight 1 g. The second is part of an iron ring: c. 25 mm x 3 m, weight 1 g.

Two tiny iron fragments

Numerous iron fragments (7)

Beads:

Drawn segmented glass beads (5), The segmented beads found are all translucent yellow which is consistent with the peaks of manganese identified through XRF analysis. Manganese oxide was often added to de-colourise glass in ancient manufacture (Hodges 1964). This type of bead is mainly dated to the sixth century and is generally distributed throughout the early Anglo-Saxon regions.

Opaque green bead, The green bead was in good condition and did not require any conservation work. XRF analysis produced results indicating that the bead had a high lead content, a pattern similarly noted by Mortimer (1996) in the study of two green beads from the Anglo-Saxon site at Mucking. Dimensions: The bead is 7.9mm in diameter, 6.9mm long and the hole is 2.1/2.8-3.3mm in diameter.

Amber beads (13), The amber beads were found as two separate groups. In addition there is one amber bead with no location. Strings of amber beads are usually considered to be sixth century in date and are widely distributed throughout England during this period.

Coral bead

Notes:

The silver spoon within this grave constitutes Treasure as it is composed from at least 10% precious metal and is over 300 years old. As the silver spoon constitutes Treasure the other items within the grave are Treasure by association as they are from the same find.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2012T625

Chronology

Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Period from: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Period to: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 500
Date to: Circa AD 599

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 50

Personal details

Recorded by: Miss Janina Parol
Identified by: Miss Janina Parol

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2012T625

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Figheldean (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SU1646
Four figure Latitude: 51.21298212
Four figure longitude: -1.77231902
1:25K map: SU1646
1:10K map: SU14NE
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: BM
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: 4 years ago

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