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Gold disc pendant


Diameter: 4.000 cm

Gift of J.R. Mortimer, Esq.

M&ME 1871,12-7,1

Britain, Europe and Prehistory

    Gold disc pendant

    Anglo-Saxon, early 7th century AD
    From Acklam Wold, near Acklam, North Yorkshire, England

    Decorated with filigree and garnet inlay

    This is one of the largest and finest of many surviving Anglo-Saxon disc pendants. It was found by chance in the late nineteenth century in a chalk pit near some prehistoric barrows. Disc pendants have been found across Anglo-Saxon England and reflect the increasing uniformity of fashion across the developing Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. They were often decorated with cross motifs, suggesting a growing awareness of Christianity among the general population in the seventh century.

    The pendant demonstrates a range of jewellery techniques. In the centre a shell boss in a dog-tooth bezel is set with a central garnet. Garnets with shell collars are typical of high-status belt-buckles and disc-brooches from the period (such as the composite disc brooch from Sarre). Four V-shaped 'cross' arms linking the central bezel to the rim were fashioned in pseudo-plaited wire. Four garnet cabochons are set between the arms. The V-shaped and semi-circular wires are formed of triple strands of beaded filigree wire. Although relatively simple to execute, the wire decoration creates a rich and glittering surface.

    R.A. Smith, A guide to the Anglo-Saxon and (London, British Museum, 1923)


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