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SF-93D943: Early Medieval mount

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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Rights Holder: Suffolk County Council Archaeology Service
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Unique ID: SF-93D943

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

An unusual Carolingian copper-alloy mount of 8th century date in good condition. This mount is trefoil in overall shape and measures c39mm in height and c43.7mm in width. The mount appears to have been cast, the back face is flat with some irregular rough patches in its centre and the front face has moulded decoration, which has been gilded and silvered extensively.

The front face has a small central projecting triangular boss, which sits in the middle of a larger triangular shape delimited by raised ridges. Radiating out from the central triangular boss into each corner of the larger triangle are three pointed oval shapes with a second smaller pointed oval shaped groove within each one. Between each of these is a recessed triangular shape. The central triangular boss has a trace of silver foil on it and the moulded larger triangular shape surrounding it is heavily gilded. Each point of the outer central triangle terminates in a rounded lobe, two of which have circular holes all the way through them and one of which is not fully pierced, these are likely to have functioned as sewing or rivet holes.

Projecting from each long edge of the central triangular shape there is a rounded lobe; it is these three lobes which create the overall trefoil shape of this mount. Each lobe has a moulded recessed stylised acanthus within it delimited by a border groove, there are traces of black niello within this border groove. Each recessed acanthus has traces of gilding within it and the field of the rounded lobe surrounding the acanthus is covered with silver foil. The sides of the lobes also retain traces of gilding. Projecting from the rounded terminal of each lobe is a trefoil with a circular hole through each lobe, one of these trefoils is incomplete and missing the terminal half of its central lobe due to old breaks.

These trefoil pierced terminals and the three pierced lobes of the central triangular shape would have allowed this mount to have been attached to a larger object. The holes could have acted as sewing holes or small rivet holes, no trace of rivets survive so it is perhaps more likely that they were sewing holes. What this mount may have been attached to remains elusive, however, when viewed in profile the mount is very slightly curvilinear, with a slightly concave back face, this may imply that it was attached to a vessel of some kind.

This mount has been examined by Kevin Leahy and Anna Gannon who both confirm that it is Carolingian in style and similar to other mounts with stylised acanthus designs discovered in Viking Age hoards. Another mount of a similar style was found nearby see SF-94DBC2. It has been published by Thomas (2012, 495; fig. 2.1)

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Subperiod from: Middle
Subperiod to: Middle
Ascribed Culture: Carolingian
Date from: Circa AD 700
Date to: Circa AD 800

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 39 mm
Width: 43.7 mm
Thickness: 5 mm
Weight: 14.95 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 1st May 2005

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Faye Minter
Identified by: Miss Faye Minter
Secondary identifier: Dr Kevin Leahy

Other reference numbers

Other reference: Finders reference; 79

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Suffolk (County)
District: St. Edmundsbury (District)
To be known as: Great Barton

Spatial coordinates

Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SF
Created: 13 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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