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The British Museum

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LIN-8F62D6: LIN-8F62D6: early medieval sword pommel cap

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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SWORD

Unique ID: LIN-8F62D6

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

A cast gilded silver sword pommel of early medieval date. The pommel is sub-triangular in form, comprising a prominent central arched element flanked by lower, sub-conical terminals in the form of three-dimensional stylised animal heads in profile. These heads have pear-shaped eyes with an extended trail from the narrow end, which curls upwards to form an open scroll towards the back of the head. Two eyes retain a dark cabochon inlay (one slightly broken), the other two are no empty leaving round sockets. The ears are comma-shaped and point backwards, the snout is stubbed and the broad brow on top of the heads tapers gently backwards to abut the arched central element. The central element is filled with an interlace pattern, possibly zoomorphic but difficult to identify due to condition. The top of the pommel has deep channels to each corner, which forms a motif resembling a relief cross pattée, with two side arms stretched out to meet the animal head terminals. The surface of the pommel was originally gilded, some of which is preserved. The underside is hollow.

Notes:

This sword pommel fits well into a group of eighth century examples, made from gilded silver in similar form and bearing similar ornamentation. Good parallels are known from Lowick, Northamptonshire (PAS database SUSS-589730, British Museum 2012,8026.1) and Chiswick Eyot on the River Thames foreshore (Webster and Backhouse 1991, no. 181, Museum of London 81.25). Another pommel of similar form is from Windsor, Berkshire (Webster and Backhouse 1991, no 180, Ashmolean Museum 1909.518) has a gold sheet inlay on the central arched element rather than cast ornament. The animal head terminals with pear-shaped eyes, sometimes inlaid with glass cabochons, are well paralleled on metalwork of this period, for instance a terminal from Croydon, South Cambridgeshire (PAS database CAM-511D9F), as is the style of interlace as shown on a gilded silver disc vrom Nassington, Norfolk (British Museum 2012,8034.1).

Conclusion:

This object constitutes a prima faciecase of treasure by consisting of more than 10% precious metal content, and is of an antiquity greater than 300 years.

Date:

Eighth Century

References:

Webster, L. and Backhouse, J. eds., 1991. The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture, AD 600-900. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: Regional importance

Class: Pommel

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2019T416

Chronology

Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Middle
Period from: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Middle
Period to: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon style
Date from: Circa AD 700
Date to: Circa AD 800

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 49.4 mm
Height: 15.45 mm
Thickness: 11.34 mm
Weight: 18.39 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 14th April 2019

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2019T416

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Secondary material: Gold
Manufacture method: Cast
Decoration style: Zoomorphic
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Lincolnshire (County)
District: North Kesteven (District)
To be known as: Leasingham area

Spatial coordinates


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: LIN
Created: 3 years ago
Updated: 9 months ago

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