KENT-028FFE: Small Frankish Asymmetric brooch

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
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Unique ID: KENT-028FFE

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

An incomplete cast gilded silver bow brooch dating to the early medieval period.

Description: The brooch has a short triangular head-plate with a circular flat knop at the apex. The bottom two corners are missing but may also have had flat knops similar to some small radiate-headed brooches. The foot is also triangular but more elongated than the head plate. It has a similar flat knop at its base and is missing part of its upper right corner.

The front of the brooch is heavily decorated. The surviving terminal knops having a nielloed triangle set in them. A ridge in relief runs from the top of the head-plate to the bottom of the foot. This ridge is left silver, decorated with a set of opposed nielloed triangles running from top to bottom. A silver border runs along the base of the head-plate also with a single line of nielloed triangles. In each of the halves of the head-plate created by the ridge are two paired Salin I style animal masks, likely birds with their beaks facing up and the eyes in by the corner of the two ridges meeting. The foot has two panels similarly produced by the raised ridge. The panels are filled with two raised triangular ridges at the outside corners and a set of S-scrolls.

The back is undecorated save for incised lines creating a ribbing affect at each end of the catch-plate. The catch-plate and pin loop is of standard arrangement. The pin is missing but copper-alloy corrosion survives in the pin loop.


Length: 39.22 mm

Width: 9.62 mm

Thickness: 8.46 mm

Weight: 2.66 g


Although a direct parallel to this brooch has yet to be found the decoration, including nielloed triangles, Style I and S scrolls, suggest a date in the late fifth to early sixth century. The knops at either end of the head-plate and foot-plate and long narrow foot is reminiscent of small Frankish radiate brooches and it does vaguely fit with an unusual small group of asymmetric Frankish fibulae although the top to bottom nielloed triangles is unusual.

This brooch could also be compared with the long equal-arm brooches, for example BUC-F80606, GLO-4E0EBD and HAMP-2BABC7. It it can be considered an equal armed brooch it would be the first long equal-arm brooch of silver to be recorded on the PAS database.


It is thought that this brooch dates to before 1716 and thus as it is made of silver and over 300 years old, it constitutes potential Treasure under the stipulations of The Treasure Act 1996

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

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2017T188


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Ascribed Culture: Frankish
Date from: Circa AD 485
Date to: Circa AD 550

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 39.22 mm
Width: 9.62 mm
Thickness: 8.46 mm
Weight: 2.66 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 31st January 2017

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Jo Ahmet
Identified by: Mr Jo Ahmet

Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2017T188

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Decoration style: Zoomorphic
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Kent (County)
District: Shepway (District)
To be known as: Lyminge

Spatial coordinates

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

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: KENT
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: 6 months ago

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