SWYOR-1F57BC: Early Medieval buckle

Rights Holder: West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service
CC License:

Rights Holder: West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service
CC License:

Rights Holder: West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service
CC License:

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Unique ID: SWYOR-1F57BC

Object type certainty: Probably
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A copper alloy fragmentary object, probably part of a flat buckle frame of later Early Medieval date, probably AD 900 - 1000. It is decorated with Borre style interlace and has a V shaped recess which could be a pin rest. The object is crescent shaped and broken at the ends. It is presumed to be the expanded outer edge from a buckle frame. The V shaped notch is in the centre of the inner edge so would be in the correct position for a pin rest.

The design on each side is not symetrical. There is a bar in relief across the pointed end of the V, and a double curved line (probably chip carved) extending from each side of the V, round the bar. To the right of the pin rest, there is a triangular element, long side along the outer edge of the object, point inwards, with a double line in relief curving round the point below. The rest of the side has interlacing double lines. To the left of the pin rest is a long curve of double line in relief along the inner edge of the buckle frame. At the broken end is a second double line that truncates the first. The decoration above and within these lines is not clear.

It has not been easy to find buckles decorated in this style, casting doubt on the function of this object. It is possible that the object has broken along deeply incised lines of decoration creating the curved edges. If so, it may be part of a pendant, brooch or trapezoid mount. However, a convincing parallel has not been found and while the ends of the object do appear broken, the curved long inner edge appears to be smoother, the decoration has a border line along the edge and this edge appears to be original. The outer curved edge is less clear whether it is broken or complete. It is certainly chipped in places. It could be argued that elements of the design are incomplete and may have continued on parts of the object that are now missing, but overall, the impression is given of a complete edge with some damage.

An object in similar style is SOM-07C798 which notes that "The design appears to echo garnet-inlaid 'keystone' brooches (also called 'Kentish' brooches) dating to c.AD 530-560", but annoyingly the triangular cell/circular ridges are the wrong way up - the circular ridges, although fragmentary, are on the convex edge instead of in the centre.

Helen Geake tried comparing the object to Early Medieval brooches (see composite image attached) and notes that: "although it has a similar feel, it's again just completely the wrong shape; the triangular cell points to the outside, and the circular ridges - which should be in the centre of the circle - are in the middle of the convex edge." The Early Anglo Saxon brooch parallels are also all larger than the object recorded here, especially when comparing the triangular cell.

The object also has affinities with NMS-60B8C7 and particularly NMS-D68C64 which are buckles decorated in Borre style dating from AD 900 - 1000. These buckles (and Borre style in general) seem to have a more chunky design and construction which is not apparent on this object. Helen Geake adds that "There are two buckle frames with Style I in Sonja Marzinzik's thesis, pl. 84, from High Down, Sussex and Petersfinger, Wilts. See also GLO-9A3D35, but all are very three-dimensional with oval or D-shaped cross-sections". She goes on to note that despite this, BUC-829D64 and NMS-60B8C7 are a better match in terms of size and fit, and the details of these two - with the triangular recesses in precisely the correct place - suggest that, if the edges are unbroken, this object could be a 10th-century buckle

The object is 25.4mm long, 10.4mm wide and 1.8mm thick. 1.34g. It has a smooth brown patina, showing grey green metal below where it is chipped.

Barry Ager has also seen photographs of the object and agrees that it appears to be closer to Borre style buckles than anything else. He adds that an example from Birka, Sweden, gr. 1076 has an interlace knot centrally placed on the loop similar to Coddingham and a triangle in the same place, although it is hollow sided (H. Arbman, 1940-43, Birka I: Die Gräber, Stockholm/Uppsala).

Finally, Jane Kershaw also kindly commented on photographs of the object. She added that: "The double contoured strands form Terslev-like volutes imitating a closed ring-knot. The V-shaped groove would make a good rest for a pin - a similar feature is seen on a Borre style buckle loop from Sculthorpe, Norfolk. I agree with Barry that a good parallel - albeit with a more 'competent' rendering of the style- is from Birka grave 1076. Other Borre-style buckle loops with double contoured strands come from graves 949 and 1030. On all of these, as on the example from Sculthorpe, the 'ends' of the buckle loop were attached to the plate via outstretched arms, thus retaining the zoomorphic elements of the Borre style. Your item seems to have been broken/ cut down along all its edges, however, making its original shape/ means of attachment unknown."

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Late
Subperiod to: Late
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Scandinavian
Date from: Circa AD 900
Date to: Circa AD 1000

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 25.4 mm
Width: 10.4 mm
Thickness: 1.8 mm
Weight: 1.34 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 17th May 2015 - Sunday 17th May 2015

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Amy Downes
Identified by: Ms Amy Downes
Secondary identifier: Dr Helen Geake

Other reference numbers

Other reference: PAS form number 2675

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Nottinghamshire (County)
District: Newark and Sherwood (District)
Parish or ward: Coddington (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SK8353
Four figure Latitude: 53.0678021
Four figure longitude: -0.7627516
1:25K map: SK8353
1:10K map: SK85SW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SWYOR
Created: 3 years ago
Updated: 3 years ago

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