SF-EB7350: Early Anglo-Saxon gilded saucer brooch

Rights Holder: Suffolk County Council
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Unique ID: SF-EB7350

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

An incomplete cast gilt copper-alloy and iron saucer brooch of probable Anglo-Saxon attribution dating to the Early Medieval period, c. 450-550- AD. It is circular in plan, with a raised obliquely-angled rim projecting around virtually its entire circumference. The interior of the front panel is decorated with the central chip-carved design of a six pointed star (demonstrating a central enlarged ring-dot motif) within a concentric star-shaped border and an inwardly-facing hollow triangular motif in each resulting spandrel. Copious traces of gilding survive on this surface, particularly in the recessed areas. The reverse face of the object is plain and featureless, with the exception of a broken pin-lug and complete catchplate which curves to the left when viewed from the rear of the object. At the apex of the brooch (precisely flanking the pin lug), are two neatly drilled circular holes, one of which is now clogged with ferrous corrosion products. These probably represent a repair allowing a pin to be hinged from a length of iron wire, which makes sense given the worn nature of the break at the apex of the projecting pin-lug that clearly occured in antiquity. Preserved in good condition with an even green patina, it measures 27.30mm in length down its vertical axis (pin lug to catchplate). 26.37mm in diameter, c. 1.6mm thick at its angled rim and 8.17mm thick between the catchplate and main body of the brooch. It weighs 7.83g.

This brooch belongs to the well-known series of examples described by MacGregor and Bollick (1993) depicting star-shaped motifs within elaborate single and multifield borders (MacGregor and Bollick 1993, pp. 45-47, figs.2.17-2.26). Within their publication, an almost exact parallel is provided by 2.24 (from the cemetery at Barrington, Cambs)- which also depicts a six pointed star in contrast to the more common five pointed designs. A number of similar examples have also been recorded on the PAS database: see records BERK-72DAE0, PUBLIC-F7A8F3, BUC-F5A187, BH-1155F7 and WILT-940076- though closest to this example is CAM-C5FB31, which as with the aforementioned example from Barrington is decorated with a six-pointed star.

Saucer brooches concentrate in the upper Thames valley region, with examples in East Anglia and south of the Thames representing more peripheral zones of their distribution. They are a key component of female grave furniture and were typically worn in pairs at the shoulder or breast level- enjoying a long production span from c. 450-570 AD, with production petering out in the last decades of the 6th century. However, the presence of single examples lost on non-cemetery sites implies that these fulfilled a role in contemporary dress of the living as well.

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Class: cast saucer
Sub class: six point star

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
Length: 27.3 mm
Thickness: 1.6 mm
Weight: 7.83 g
Diameter: 26.37 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 11th June 2018

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Alex Bliss
Identified by: Mr Alex Bliss

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Secondary material: Iron
Manufacture method: Cast
Decoration style: Geometric
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cambridgeshire (County)
District: East Cambridgeshire (District)
To be known as: Fordham

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
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SF
Created: 9 months ago
Updated: 6 months ago

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