HAMP-568965: Middle/ late early-medieval harness pendant

Rights Holder: Hampshire Cultural Trust
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Unique ID: HAMP-568965

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

A middle/ late early-medieval (Anglo Saxon) copper alloy pendant of sub-circular form and with a projecting loop turned through 90 degrees. It is of similar form, and presumably related, to the more common nummular brooches of the late 9th century onwards.
The body is sub-circular in shape, measuring 25.0x23.7mm. It is flat and undecorated to the reverse while the front has moulded decoration in the form of a left-facing profile bust with crested helmet within two raised concentric rings. A further incomplete ring of raised pellets is visible in the field extending from the helmet to either side of the neck. Outside the rings are a further two concentric rings of raised pellets, all within a raised rim (which has been mostly lost to one side of the object). Above the head, the two solid concentric rings converge and an 'extension' rises in an arc above to create the illusion of another ring.
The body of the pendant is rather thicker above the head and just below the loop (at 12 o'clock), where it measures 3.3mm in thickness. This narrows to 0.5mm at the opposite edge (6 'clock). 3 o'clock is 2.4mm thick; 9 o'clock is 1.8mm thick.
The loop projects forwards at a slight angle from a short rectangular extension (which is flush with the reverse of the sub-circular body). The loop is circular in shape, measuring 6mm in diameter (internal 3.0mm) and retains a squarish piece of silver plating to the reverse - suggesting a silver plated surface may have originally covered the entire object.
The object measures 32.0mm in length, 25.0mm in width, 3.3mm in max.thickness (with a max.depth of 6.4mm at the loop) and weighs 7.93g. The metal has a mid blueish-green coloured patina with a silver hue to the front.
A brooch with a similar depiction (but bust right not left) can be seen in record FAKL-DFD6D3, of which the author writes 'This brooch belongs to series originally based on coins of the Carolingian Emperor Louis the Pious (814-840) which, in turn, were based on late Roman coins. The three rows of pellets around the edge represent the rings of beaded filigree mount which surround the coin on the original brooches. These brooches were copied with increasing crudity. ... Brooches of this type are discussed in Leahy, K 2006, 'Anglo-Saxon coin brooches' in B. Cook and G. Williams Coinage and History in the North Sea World c. 500-1250 pp 267-286'.

Richard Abdy, British Museum, comments of this find, 'It's very generic but looks like it could be a left facing helmeted head inspired by common Constantinian commemorative nummi, for e.g. http://www.coinarchives.com/a/openlink.php?l=1200109|2382|836|2fef5b1f020b49ef2977717b2eef1344 '. (pers. comm. August 2018)
Gareth Williams, British Museum, adds 'I think that as an object ... it has affinities with nummular brooches at the later end of things - say late 8th century onwards' (pers. comm. August 2018).
Barry Ager, formerly British Museum, comments, 'There is a series of Carolingian nummular brooches of the 9th-10th centuries, which are based on solidi of Louis the Pious and I imagine also go back ultimately to Roman coin prototypes, although the "Louis the Pious" heads face right, not left as on this find, and usually have only a single beaded ring border, e.g one in the B.M. of unknown provenance (reg.no. 1990,1006.1):- http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=85282&partId=1&searchText=coin+brooch+carolingian&page=1 Norwich Castle Museum has one from Pentney (reg.no. 145.982). They are mainly of continental origin, although a lead trial piece for one was found at Torksey, suggesting they may also have been produced here, unless it was a Viking "import". I do not know of any similar Carolingian pendants offhand' (pers. comm. August 2018).

Find of note status

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

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Middle
Subperiod to: Late
Date from: Circa AD 750
Date to: Circa AD 1100

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 32 mm
Width: 25 mm
Thickness: 6.4 mm
Weight: 7.93 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Katie Hinds
Identified by: Ms Katie Hinds

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Uncertain

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Hampshire (County)
District: Test Valley (District)
Parish or ward: Wherwell (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SU3840
Four figure Latitude: 51.15799702
Four figure longitude: -1.45800133
1:25K map: SU3840
1:10K map: SU34SE
Grid reference source: From finder
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: HAMP
Created: 6 months ago
Updated: About one month ago

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