NMGW-22CFAA: Early Medieval penannular arm-ring fragment of Hiberno-Viking type

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ARMLET

Unique ID: NMGW-22CFAA

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

The penannular arm-ring fragment is of Hiberno-Viking type, and has the form of a broad flat band of silver or rectangular cross-section, 3mm deep, with punched ornament on one face. The expanded mid-portion of the arm-ring tapers to the one complete and now severed ends. The outer face is ornamented with a row of vertical transverse bar-stamping to either side of a central diagonal cross, the punch having a plain centre, between toothed edges. The arm-ring now measures 70mm in length (both ends missing), with a minimum width of 12mm and maximum central width of 18mm. The arm ring does not appear to have been cut as hack-silver (no evident shear-marks), but to have fractured along the serrated bar stamps at either end. Whether this was intentional or accidental is not clear.

The object has not undergone any cleaning or conservation, and further information may result from their eventual treatment.

The form of the arm-ring, having been hammered (forged) from a silver ingot into a flat expanded band tapering either side of a central expansion and stamped with external bar decoration, establishes that this is a rare example of Viking-age silver jewellery and portable wealth found in south Wales.

The use of bar-stamped decoration over the whole external surface in a repeating pattern is typical of Hiberno-Scandinavian jewellery of ninth- or tenth-century date. More specifically, the Kilgetty arm-ring belongs to a style dated by analogy with other decorated examples of jewellery to the late ninth/early tenth century: similar serrated edge punch shapes and arm-ring forms occur on silver arm-rings from the Huxley hoard, Cheshire, the majority of which are thought to have been made between about AD 880 and AD 930 (Sheehan 2009, 61, figs 7.3, 7.4). Another parallel is provided by one in the Gordon, Berwickshire, hoard, deposited in the late ninth or early tenth century (Graham-Campbell 1995, 102, no. 14.3 and plate 6 top). Arm-rings of this type occur as parts of sixteen coin-dated hoards, six from Britain, their chronological focus lying in the 870s, and in coin-dated deposits from the first decade of the tenth century. Good parallels can be found in the Cuerdale hoard, deposited c. 905-10 (Graham-Campbell 2011, plate 25, and fig. 8.1), the Dysart Island hoard (no. 4), Co. Westmeath, deposited c. 907 (Ryan et al 1984, 339-42).

It has been suggested that the Hiberno-Scandinavian broad-band arm-rings which largely constitute the Huxley hoard were still flat (unfinished) when they were hammered into half for storage or concealment. Similarly there is no evidence for curvature on the Cresselly/Kilgetti armring, which is now flat, and it remains unclear whether the band ever had the penannular form of a completed arm-ring.

The issue of circumstances of loss for this single item deserve mention. We have no specific contextual information apart from the reported findspot, and the absence of associated early medieval material. Other Viking-age finds are known from Pembrokeshire, and include a ringed pin from a site near St Davids, decorated lead merchant's weights from Freshwater West and a site between Robeston West and Walwyn's Castle and a sword pommel from a site near Pembroke (for weights see Redknap 2009, 38-39). Given these finds and the Scandinavian place-name evidence from Pembrokeshire, his new find amplifies this activity and the importance of Milford Haven (from ON melr, fjörðr) in the Scandinavian world view.

References:

Graham-Campbell, J. 1995, The Viking-Age Gold and Silver of Scotland (AD 850-1100), Edinburgh.

Graham-Campbell, J. 2011, The Cuerdale Hoard and related Viking-Age silver and gold from Britain and Ireland in the British Museum, British Museum Research Publication no. 185.

Redknap, M. 2009, 'Silver and Commerce in Viking-age North Wales', in J. Graham-Campbell and R. Philpott (eds), The Huxley Hoard. Scandinavian Settlement in the North West, National Muaseums Liverpool, 29-41.

Ryan, M., O Floinn, R., Lowick, N., Kenny, M. and Cazalet, P. 1984, 'Six silver finds of the Viking period from the vicinity of Lough Ennell, Co. Westmeath', Peritia 3, 334-81.

Sheehan,. J. 2009, 'The Huxley Hoard and Hiberno-Scandinavian Arm-rings', in J. Graham-Campbell and R. Philpott (eds), The Huxley Viking hoard. Scandinavian Settlement in the North West (National Museums Liverpool), 58-69.

Class: penannular arm-ring

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2013TW7

Chronology

Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Ascribed Culture: Viking
Date from: Circa AD 850
Date to: Circa AD 950

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 70 mm
Width: 18 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 16th May 2013

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Mark Redknap
Identified by: Mr Mark Lodwick

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2013TW7

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Manufacture method: Struck or hammered
Decoration style: Other
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: Wales (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Pembrokeshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Pembrokeshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Jeffreyston (Community)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SN0606
Four figure Latitude: 51.7190825
Four figure longitude: -4.80994013
1:25K map: SN0606
1:10K map: SN00NE
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

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

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