KENT-58EF17: Incomplete Keystone Garnet Disc brooch

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
CC License:

Image use policy

Our images can be used under a CC BY attribution licence (unless stated otherwise).


Unique ID: KENT-58EF17

Object type certainty: Possibly
Workflow status: Published Find published

An incomplete gilded silver Kentish keystone disc brooch of Avent's class 3, dating to the period c.AD 525-c.AD 575, with inlaid slab-cut garnets.

Description: The brooch survives at roughly 40-45% of its original circumference, with only one full panel of the distinguishing opposing beast heads, two of the 'keystone' garnet settings and two circular intermediate cells surviving. In all cases, judging by the size of the brooch these would originally have totalled four each.

When originally complete the front of the brooch was heavily decorated with all decoration in relief with the exception of the cells. Starting from the outer rim the decoration consists of an outer band of alternating plain and ribbed which also visible on the reverse (Avent rim type 2), the inner band of decoration on the outer rim is made up of nielloed triangles (of Avent rim type 4.1) but is fairly heavily obscured by damage and wear. The inner rim is, unusually for Avent class 3 rim type 2, closely grouped ribbed decoration alternating with long breaks, these are aligned with the outer band type 2 rim to pair the ribbed section of one with the plain section of the other. The inner panels of decoration consist of two opposed animal heads, dominated by the stylised D-shaped eye, joined by a two lines one, the outer of which is ribbed. Between the two heads is a circular intermediate cell likely originally containing a white paste of some description. Flanking each side of the pair of beast heads is an evenly shaped trapezoidal 'keystone' cell slightly narrower towards the centre of the brooch, these cells contained a gold foil backed slab cut garnet. The central cell is large and circular and has a green-white concretion possibly indicating a now mostly degraded white paste boss.

The reverse is decorated only with the outer rims outer band and counter arranged small band of rim type 2. The pin loop is missing although the catchplate remains indicating a fairly standard catchplate arrangement. The breaks

Measurements: 46.11mm long (remaining diameter), 24.39mm wide, 10.76mm thick (including catchplate, 3.41mm thick without and 10.25g in weight.

Discussion: The decorative elements of this brooch roughly fit Avent's (1975, 30-33) class 3. Class 3 is split into 6 sub-types and this brooch doesn't exactly fit any of these sub-types. It most closely fits Class 3.1, sharing almost all of the accepted decorative elements however unlike those brooches of class 3.1, when complete it would have had four alternating keystone and intermediate setting panels of opposing beasts. While such an arrangement is seen in other sub-types the other decorative elements do not as closely link them together. Avent (1975. 30-31) dates this group to the second half of the 6th century. More recent work (Bayliss et al. 2013) has allocated Group 3 brooches to period AS-FB(p) (Bayliss et al. 2013, 570, object type BR2-b3) which is currently dated to the mid 6th century, probably between 525 and 575 AD (Bayliss et al. 2013, 460).


Consequently, in terms of age and as the object contains a minimum of 10% precious metal it qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act 1996.

Class: keystone
Sub class: Avent class 3

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2017T457


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon
Date from: Circa AD 525
Date to: Circa AD 575

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 46.11 mm
Width: 24.39 mm
Thickness: 10.76 mm
Weight: 10.25 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Saturday 6th May 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: 2017T457

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Secondary material: Gem
Decoration style: Zoomorphic
Completeness: Fragment
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Kent (County)
District: Canterbury (District)
Parish or ward: Chislet (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TR2262
Four figure Latitude: 51.31378134
Four figure longitude: 1.18417448
1:25K map: TR2262
1:10K map: TR26SW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

References cited

Similar objects

Find number: KENT4547
Object type: BROOCH
Description: Two fragments forming the greater part of a gilded silver garnet-inlaid Kentish disc brooch. The central circular setting is empt…
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Find number: KENT-71F749
Object type: ASSEMBLAGE
An assemblage of grave-goods probably belonging to a female and dating to the mid-sixth century, consisting of: a) A silvered and gilt copper…
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Find number: KENT-B2F382
Object type: BROOCH
An incomplete cast gilded silver 'keystone' disc brooch dating to the early medieval period. Description: Roughly two thirds of the brooch re…
Workflow: PublishedFind published

Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: KENT
Created: About one year ago
Updated: 6 months ago

Other formats: this page is available as qrcode json xml geojson pdf rdf representations.