NMS-5F9A2E: Early medieval decorative enamelled copper-alloy mount from a hanging bowl

Rights Holder: Norfolk County Council
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Rights Holder: Norfolk County Council
CC License: All Rights Reserved

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HANGING BOWL

Unique ID: NMS-5F9A2E

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

Decorative enamelled copper-alloy mount from a hanging bowl of 7th-century date, with secondary perforation. It is flat and basically semi-circular, with one long edge outcurved and the other with two small incurves leading to a central rectangular projection. It could alternatively be called pelta-shaped or crescentic, or even mushroom-shaped. There is a reserved border running nearly all the way round, mostly around 2mm wide but narrower along the incurved edges. This border appears to have broken off the centre of the outcurved edge (very worn break).

The rectangular projection (the stalk of the mushroom) has a neat circular hole about 2mm in diameter made through the centre, partly within and partly off the border.

Within the border the field is filled with four hollow lozenge shapes, one below the hole, then two below this, then another one so that they are set in a cross. They are not perfectly regular, but in general their long axis runs sideways when the mount is held with the hole at the top. There is enamel all around and within the lozenges, now mostly decayed to a pale colour but with hints, particularly within the lozenges, that the original colour was red. There is no evidence that the enamel colour within the lozenges was different to that outside.

The reverse is flat and has a smooth green surface at the rectangular projection, but a rougher surface, possibly with traces of shiny grey solder, at the outcurved side. The mount measures 19mm long from the rectangular projection to the opposite side, and 22.5mm wide; it is 1.5mm thick and weighs 3.6g.

It is possible that the hole was intended as a rivet hole to fix the mount on to the bowl in addition to any solder; or it is possible that it is a secondary hole, added to convert the mount into a pendant (as is known from other examples, e.g. from Camerton; Marina Drive, Dunstable; Bedhampton; Thornham (Bruce-Mitford 2005, nos. 6, 7, 8, 23, 68). These were all found detached from their bowls, in graves, suggesting a secondary use. Without a context, it is impossible to be certain if this mount was re-used.

The style of open shapes framed or 'contoured' by reserved lines is also found on, among others, mounts from Benty Grange; White Horse Hill, Uffington; Barham; and Whitby (Bruce-Mitford 2005, nos. 14, 76, 80 and 101). These are dated to the mid or second half of the 7th century.

There are several pelta-shaped or 'axe-head' mounts known from the Lullingstone bowl, of varying sizes. The larger ones have relief interlace, but the smaller examples have reserved crudely scrolled lines set in enamel (Bruce-Mitford 2005, no. 43, colour plate 5; now in the British Museum, 1967,1004.1). The Lullingstone bowl is dated by Bruce-Mitford to the end of the 7th or the early 8th century. Other good parallels for mounts of this form include SF-E537B6, attached to a frame for a disc.

Evidence of reuse: perforation

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod to: Early
Period to: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon style
Date from: Circa AD 630
Date to: Circa AD 700

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 19 mm
Width: 22.5 mm
Thickness: 1.5 mm
Weight: 3.6 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 17th October 2019 - Wednesday 20th November 2019

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

SMR reference number: 29387
Other reference: AHS112019

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Completeness: Incomplete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with enamel

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Norfolk (County)
District: South Norfolk (District)
Parish or ward: Forncett (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TM1592
Four figure Latitude: 52.48353905
Four figure longitude: 1.16492119
1:25K map: TM1592
1:10K map: TM19SE
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Bruce-Mitford, R. and Raven, S. 2005 A Corpus of Late Celtic Hanging-Bowls: with an account of the bowls found in Scandinavia Oxford Oxford University Press

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: NMS
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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