BH-A3BA59: Late Early Medieval cross-on-bird brooch

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Unique ID: BH-A3BA59

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

An incomplete cast copper-alloy cross-on-bird brooch dating to the middle Early-Medieval period (AD 750-850). The brooch is in the shape of a bird with a cross projecting from the centre of its back. It is mostly intact with only part of the tail and the pin on the reverse missing. The upper surface is slightly convex, while the reverse is slightly concave with the remains of an integrated hook and catch plate for holding the pin.

The bird is depicted in profile facing left with a rounded head, raised circular eye and a pointed beak that bends downwards. The body and neck are stocky and plain, with a tucked wing of elongated feathers defined by linear grooves. A Greek cross with a ring and dot in the centre projects upwards behind the head from the centre of the bird's back. Both side arms of the cross are connected to the body, forming two circular perforations beneath. The bird's tail consists of a series of moulded ribs. The end of the tail extends to a broken circular-shaped plate. The feet of the bird project from the underside of the body and consist of opposing bent pointed talons facing away from each other. The underside of the brooch is undecorated. It measures 51mm in length, a maximum of 30mm in width and 8mm in thickness. The brooch weighs 16.8 grams.

Other copper-alloy cross-on-bird brooches on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database include SF-BCC403, SF-7B3CA5 and BERK-5DED86, while silver and gilded silver examples are also recorded (KENT-9F6987 and SUSS-44F203 respectively). Cross-on-bird brooches are a relatively uncommon type but are recorded by Pedersen (2001) from Denmark (fig. 11b), England (fig. 19c), Germany (figs. 20 and 22) and France (fig. 21); those in graves in Germany and France give dates centring on c. AD 800 (Pedersen 2001, 64).

Also see A. Gannon (2003), The Iconography of Early Anglo-Saxon Coins, pp. 114-5, where it is argued that one of these brooches (from Berinsfield, Pedersen 2001 fig. 19c) carries a fledgling rather than a cross on its back.

Find of note status

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

Class: Cross-on-Bird
Sub class: Weetch type 30.B

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Middle
Subperiod to: Middle
Date from: Circa AD 750
Date to: Circa AD 850

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 51 mm
Width: 30 mm
Thickness: 8 mm
Weight: 16.8 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 20th August 2018 - Monday 20th August 2018

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Matthew Fittock
Identified by: Mr Matthew Fittock

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Central Bedfordshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Pulloxhill (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TL0733
Four figure Latitude: 51.98516213
Four figure longitude: -0.44330645
1:25K map: TL0733
1:10K map: TL03SE
Grid reference source: From finder
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: BH
Created: 4 months ago
Updated: 13 days ago

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