NMS-A13EDD: Early Medieval bracteate

Rights Holder: Norfolk County Council
CC License:

Rights Holder: Norfolk County Council
CC License:

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Unique ID: NMS-A13EDD

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Early Saxon gold C-bracteate. The repoussé decoration depicts a highly stylised horse and over-large bearded male head in profile facing right with four pellets below his triangular nose, a round eye with two lines indicating the lower eyelid and a hairstyle ending with a round coil and tail at the back and a triangle with a spiral in the front. The horse has a triangular ear, gaping mouth and small eye. Between the broad neck and the lower trunk are two dots. Above the large round hip and tail are two further dots. One short hindleg ends in a broad foot. The front legs are detached from the body, the front one is bent at the knee and ends in a broad pointed foot. There is a line of pellets around the edge interrupted by the horse's head and hip. For a short section to one side of the loop there is a line of tiny triangular stamps following the edge which were stamped over the edge or cut through leaving small notches around most of the edge of the disc. The gold foil is not quite round and there is a tear on the left side. The loop is formed from an integral tab which has been folded backwards and soldered or braised to the reverse to close the loop. Traces of two or three ribs survive at one end of the otherwise extremely worn loop, which is almost worn through at the apex. The motif is clearly visible at the reverse. The motif belongs to the only type of C-bracteates that has been found in Anglo-Saxon England, other examples include FAKL-500088, a silver bracteate from East Riding of Yorkshire and NMS-25CDD3 (HER 29937), a die for a C-bracteate from Norfolk. The new motif has some unique features like the spiral in which the hairstyle end above the forehead or the large curled lower lip of the quadruped. The closest parallels of the animal, especially the front foot, are found on the copper alloy bracteates from Eriswell, grave 42, Suffolk, the silver bracteate from East Leake, Nottinghamshire and the gold pendant from De Valom in Frisia. The placing of the loop would allow the wearer to view the image when looking down at it, but the image would appear up-side-down to people looking at them.

Date: 6th century.

Dimensions: Height 29mm. Width 26mm. Thickness less than 1mm. Weight 3.1g.


As it was found before 1997 it is subject to the common law of Treasure Trove which was in place prior to the commencement of the Treasure Act. In order for an item to be classed as Treasure Trove, evidence would have to suggest that it had been deliberately hidden with the intention of future recovery. It is believed that most Early Medieval bracteates found in the United Kingdom were placed in the ground as ritual deposits, with no intention of recovery. This item therefore appears to fail outside the criteria for Treasure Trove.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Treasure item found pre 1997, so undergoing Treasure Trove

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2014T801


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon
Date from: Circa AD 500
Date to: Circa AD 600

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Height: 29 mm
Width: 26 mm
Weight: 3.1 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 1st January 1987 - Thursday 31st December 1987

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mrs Erica Darch
Identified by: Dr Charlotte Behr
Secondary identifier: Dr Tim Pestell

Other reference numbers

SMR reference number: 60242
Other reference: IND06082014NCM
Treasure case number: 2014T801

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Norfolk (County)
District: North Norfolk (District)
To be known as: Lessingham

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Other chance find
General landuse: Coastland
Specific landuse: Unknown

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMS
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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