Grave group from Sutri

Lombardic period, late 6th century AD
Found near Sutri, Lazio, Italy

From a high-status female grave

This group of objects includes most of the rich grave goods found in a grave in 1878. Sutri was in a region disputed between the Lombards and Byzantines at the end of the sixth century AD. The group comprises the following objects:

A blue glass drinking-horn (discussed in a separate entry).

Two greenish-blue amphorisks (small vessels resembling an amphora in form) with marvered spots. These are thought to be of Roman origin, but it is not unusual to find reused Roman glassware in Italian early medieval graves.

A gilded silver radiate-headed brooch, with a terminal in the form of an animal head, possibly with inlaid tusks of a boar.

A cloisonné, gold and garnet S-shaped brooch. This belongs to a common Germanic type, but is of unusual design, with a head of a bird of prey at each end almost hidden in the garnet inlays and only revealed by their eyes and hooked beaks.

A plain gold cross with perforated arms. Gold crosses are fairly common in Lombardic cemeteries and the holes in this example were probably for sewing to a burial veil or shroud. They show that the people were Christian and influenced by Byzantine culture, although they were still buried with grave goods according to pagan custom.

A pair of earrings with triple pendants, decorated with filigree. Like the cross, the earrings also show the Mediterranean influence on the costume worn by the Lombards after their settlement in Italy.

A gold pin, beads, coins, including one of AD 578-82, a second drinking-horn (which was broken by the excavator), and a third brooch were not acquired by the Museum.

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Grave group from Sutri

Grave group from Sutri


More information


T.W. Potter and A.C. King, Excavations at the Mola di Mon (British School at Rome London in association with the British Museum, 1997)


Length: 12.500 cm (radiate-headed brooch)
Length: 12.500 cm (radiate-headed brooch)
Length: 12.500 cm (radiate-headed brooch)
Height: 7.200 cm (earrings)

Museum number

Britain, Europe and Prehistory


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