SF-FF84D3: Anglo-Saxon silver sword pyramid mount

Rights Holder: Suffolk County Council
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Unique ID: SF-FF84D3

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

A complete early medieval cast silver pyramidal mount, probably from a sword scabbard. It is in the form of a hollow truncated pyramid with a square base and a flat top. Each face is decorated with three triangular recesses, one at the top with the point downwards and one each in the left and right corners, their points upwards. On the top is a partially recessed circular cell with a pellet in the centre. An integral bar runs transversely across the base, rounded in section in the middle and flattened towards each end.


Pyramidal mounts are well known in Anglo-Saxon and Continental archaeological contexts (Menghin pp. 363ff). Their precise function is uncertain but they may have helped to secure swords in their scabbards by means of a strap running through the transverse bar on the base. They are relatively uncommon as grave finds, with two deluxe examples found in the Sutton Hoo ship burial; however they are increasingly common as stray finds with numerous examples now recorded on the PAS database. Several distinct types are now discernible, distinguished by shape (pyramidal to cone-like), material (copper alloy, silver, gold) and decoration (incised, chip-carved, cloisonné inlay). Examples decorated with recessed triangles are especially numerous, although the present example is slightly cruder in manufacture than the majority. More finely executed examples with gilding and niello inlay, also with three triangles on each face, include LEIC-4BFA72 (Rutland), LEIC-9E22BD (Scampton, Lincolnshire) and WILT-5EF569 (Kingston Deverill, Wiltshire).


Mid sixth to seventh centuries


The object contains more than 10% precious metal and is over 300 years old. Consequently, it qualifies as Treasure under the stipulations of the Treasure Act 1996 in terms of both age and precious metal content.

Class: pyramid mount

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder after being disclaimed as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2018T409


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon style
Date from: Circa AD 580
Date to: Circa AD 700

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 15.89 mm
Height: 9.68 mm
Width: 18.17 mm
Weight: 8.09 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Wednesday 1st January 2014

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2018T409

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Manufacture method: Cast
Decoration style: Geometric
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Suffolk (County)
District: St. Edmundsbury (District)
To be known as: Thelnetham

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: Centred on field
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: SF
Created: 4 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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