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Unique ID: ESS-9CDC36

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

An incomplete circular gold setting, probably once part of a larger composite object.

Description: The setting has a thick, double frame consisting of a band of twisted, gold beaded wire with a ring of single, untwisted gold beaded wire above. Inside this is a broad, upright gold strip forming a collar for the setting. The setting itself is now empty, with no clear remains of a stone or gold foil. A greyish substance is visible inside, running around much of the circumference at the junction between collar and base-plate. This may be the remains of cement that held the original setting in place.

The gold base-plate is circular and plain on the reverse. In the centre are the remains of a gold tube with the open terminal now bent backwards and split into five pieces. These most probably represent the remnants of a gold tube forming the means of attachment to another object (see Discussion).

The object is slightly distorted from the circular, having been compressed on one side to form a flattened edge.

Discussion: The Colchester District setting is an example of a relatively common type of fitting with a single central setting on the front and central rivets, remains of gold attachment tubes and / or circular depressions or scars on the reverse. Several similar examples recorded through the Treasure Act and on the Portable Antiquities Scheme Database include from Ropley, Hampshire (HAMP-2DAB03, 2014 T141) and South Warwickshire (PAS-E9BEA3, 2009 T662). Another, increasingly common, type of small setting has more complex, multi-cell cloisonné decoration on the front, but similar attachment methods on the back e.g. Milton-under-Wychwood, (SUR-A393CC, 2014 T750); Haslingfield, South Cambridgeshire (PAS-A78288, 2005 T558); Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire (Treasure Annual Report 2001, no. 38); and Farthingstone, Northamptonshire (NARC-05D4C1, 2006 T84) which, like the Colchester district setting, has substantial remains of a gold attachment tube on the reverse.

One possible function for these settings is as a component from composite disc brooches, pendants or other objects. See the central setting on the disc brooch from Wingham, Kent (British Museum, registration number 1879,0524.34 and Avent 1975, no. 157), and those on another disc brooch from Priory Hill, Kent (British Museum, registration number 1879,1013.1, Avent 1975, no. 174); and also settings on disc pendants from Acklam Wold, North Yorkshire (British Museum, registration number 1871,1207.1); and Breach Down, Kent (British Museum, registration number 1879,0524.22). Compare also the swivelling sword-harness attachment from King's Field, Faversham, Kent (British Museum, registration number 1144.'70) which has more complex cloisonné cell-work on the front but a gold attachment tube extending from the reverse.

Other recorded settings are similar in construction but differ notably in their attachment methods: examples from Rushton, Northamptonshire (NARC-77D046, 2006 T320), Near Mildenhall, Suffolk (SF-CB7620, 2005 T510) and King's Lynn, Norfolk (NMS-274C44, 2014 T35) have three to four rivets around their circumference, while a setting from the Northamptonshire area (NARC-2CE634, 2009 T648) has a U-shaped fixing on the back. The latter type has been interpreted as a sword scabbard button, e.g. the example from Wickhambreaux, Kent in the British Museum (registration number 1905,0418.16). It is likely that the same basic design was used on all of these items, although their function and the objects to which they were attached clearly differed.

Date: Comparable items have been dated to the late 6th or 7th centuries.

R. Avent (1975), Anglo-Saxon Garnet Inlaid Disc and Composite Brooches. 2 volumes. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, British Series no. 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.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder after being disclaimed as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2014T942


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon
Date from: Circa AD 575
Date to: Circa AD 700

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 11.84 mm
Thickness: 5.78 mm
Weight: 2 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Katie Marsden
Identified by: Miss Katie Marsden

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2014T942

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Essex (County)
District: Colchester (District)
To be known as: Colchester District

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

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

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