KENT-7009B3: Gold spacer bead

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: KENT-7009B3

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Biconical spacer bead, made from a single coiled length of beaded wire. The surface of the bead is somewhat worn. This bead would have formed a spacer between pendants on a necklace of mid-7th century date. X-ray fluorescence analysis at the British Museum gave an approximate composition of 50% gold, 47% silver.

Discussion: The spacer bead belong to a rapidly expanding group of elements belonging to high status necklaces which became fashionable during the seventh century. The necklaces were strung with a variety of pendants, often containing contemporary garnet cabochons, but also earlier, fifth century, cut stones and late Roman millefiori or mosaic glass like the examples from the North Downs. Each of the North Downs pendants would have been flanked by gold biconical spacer beads and together with several more similar pendants would have made up a high status neckIace comparable to those found at Desborough, Northamptonshire (Leslie Webster and Janet Backhouse, 'The Making of England, Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture, AD 600-900', 1991, Cat. No.13) or Sarre, Kent, whose centrepiece is a pendant mounted with a magnificent fragment of millefiori glass (Ronald Jessup, 'Anglo-Saxon Jewellery, London 1959, Pl. XXVII).


Treasure case 2003/T207 (part). See also associated records KENT-963135, KENT-965884, KENT-966793, KENT-969156, KENT-96A123.

Class: Spacer

Subsequent actions

Current location of find: Maidstone Museum
Subsequent action after recording: Acquired by museum after being declared Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2003T207


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Date from: Circa AD 625
Date to: Circa AD 675

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 16 mm
Weight: 2.77 g
Diameter: 8 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 9th August 2003

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Andrew Richardson
Identified by: Dr Andrew Richardson
Secondary identifier: Ms Angela Evans

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2003T207

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Secondary material: Silver

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Kent (County)
District: Maidstone (District)
To be known as: North Downs

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Current location: Maidstone Museum
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: KENT
Created: 15 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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