KENT-AC16E8: Saxon gilt-copper alloy button brooch

Rights Holder: Kent County Council
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Unique ID: KENT-AC16E8

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

A near complete cast early Early-Medieval (Anglo-Saxon, c. 450-550) gilt copper-alloy button brooch probably of Suzuki's class B.

Description: The brooch comprises a circular base with angled walls (turning outwards) surrounding it creating a 'saucer' shape. The face of the brooch is decorated in relief with a helmeted face within 3 concentric raised ribs. The helmet is formed by a horizontal line with a line at right angles at its centre dividing the apex of the face in two. Below are large bushy eyebrows and prominent nose formed by a T-shaped ridge with a wavy top bar with flicked up arms the upright to the T widens towards its base. Each eyes is formed by a pellet in the corner formed by the eyebrows and a curved line on the outside edge running from the outside end of the eyebrows to the base of the nose. The outer edge of the eyes also helps define the cheeks. Below the base of the nose and the cheeks is an open, 'pouting mouth' formed from a hollow diamond shape on its side.

The reverse is undecorated and un gilded (this includes the outside edges of the rim) but has a standard pin lug and catchplate, both of which remain in good condition. The lack of any iron corrosion product on the back suggests either the brooch lost an iron pin before being deposited or that it had a now missing copper-alloy pin. Either is possible although the former is more likely. The brooch remains in good condition although, as mentioned it is missing its' pin and also has some abrasion and nicks around the rim.

Measurements: 20.43mm in diameter, 9.25mm thick (including catchplate and lug, 2.72mm thick without) and 5.08g in weight.

Discussion: Button brooches are distinguished by their small size and by the anthropomorphic face-masks which they feature. They may have been utilised in a number of ways including dress fasteners and as decorative brooches. From graves it appears that they were used singly rather than in pairs like the related but larger saucer brooches. Button brooches are found throughout much of southern England and the Thames Valley with a date range of the later fifth century and the sixth century.

Class: button

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon
Date from: Circa AD 450
Date to: Circa AD 550

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 9.25 mm
Weight: 5.08 g
Diameter: 20.43 mm

Personal details

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

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Decoration style: Figurative
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

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

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TR1641
Four figure Latitude: 51.12753416
Four figure longitude: 1.08557233
1:25K map: TR1641
1:10K map: TR14SE
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: About one year ago
Updated: 9 months ago

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