SWYOR-CEFC54: SWYOR-CEFC54 Early Medieval Scabbard

Rights Holder: West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service
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Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A cast silver and gilt early medieval pyramidal mount, probably from a sword scabbard, dating from AD 550 - 700. The mount is hollow (though with soil concretion inside) and each of the four truncated triangular panels is decorated with a symbol in relief. Two opposite faces have a trapezoid containing a cross saltire. Another has a trapezoid containing three lines radiating from the top central point. The final face is less clear but appears to have a more curvilinear design. The top and bottom of each face have a double groove across them, with traces of gilding in the grooves. The pyramid is truncated and the top is recessed, probably for a decorative setting now missing (other examples have had a small square of garnet or glass fitted here). On the reverse is a bar crossing the base of the mount. This is partially obscured by the soil concretion. 

The mount is 13mm long, 11.7mm wide and is 9.2mm tall. 3.06g.

Pyramidal mounts are well known in Anglo-Saxon and Continental archaeological contexts (Menghin pp. 363ff; Hines and Bayliss 2013, Type SW5-b, p. 186). Their function is still uncertain, but it seems likely that they were used to help secure the sword in the scabbard, by means of a strap running through the transverse bar on the base. Two were famously found in the high-status graves of Sutton Hoo Mound 1, but they are relatively uncommon grave finds. They are, however, familiar as stray finds with ever-increasing numbers recorded on the PAS database.  Compare SWYOR-F22FB2 (2010 T628), LANCUM-E91A57 (2018 T892) and LIN-2D3D63 (2018 T564) among others on the PAS database. These mounts date from the mid-sixth to later seventh centuries and initially were small and squat, becoming taller with more varied base shapes. 


Hines, J. and Bayliss, A., 2013. Anglo-Saxon Graves and Grave Goods of the 6th and 7th Centuries AD: A Chronological Framework. London: The Society for Medieval Archaeology. The Society for Early Medieval Archaeology Monograph 33

Menghin, W., 1983. Das Schwert im frühen Mittelalter: Chronologisch-typologische Untersuchungen zu Langschwertern aus germanischen Gräbern des 5. bis 7. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. Stuttgart: Wissenschaftliche Beibände zum Anzeiger des Germanischen Nationalmuseums


As the object is made of silver and is over 300 years old, it appears to meet the requirements of the 1996 Treasure Act.

Class: pyramid

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2020T232


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Early
Subperiod to: Early
Ascribed Culture: Anglo-Saxon style
Date from: Circa AD 550
Date to: Circa AD 700

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 13 mm
Height: 9.2 mm
Width: 11.7 mm
Weight: 3.06 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 16th February 2020 - Sunday 16th February 2020

Personal details

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Other reference numbers

Treasure case number: 2020T232

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Gilded

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: North Yorkshire (County)
District: Selby (District)
Parish or ward: Grimston (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SE4941
Four figure Latitude: 53.86291337
Four figure longitude: -1.25641929
1:25K map: SE4941
1:10K map: SE44SE
Grid reference source: From finder
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: SWYOR
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: About one year ago

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