Length: 31.100 cm
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Room 41: Europe AD 300-1100
Iron and silver buckle
Merovingian, 7th century AD
From Amiens, Somme, France
Overlaid with silver sheet and inlaid with silver wire
In spite of its large size, this buckle was probably worn on a woman’s belt, together with a counter-plate of similar design. Two of the silver rivets for attachment to the belt are missing. The buckle is very elaborately decorated with interlaced Style II animals and animal heads, indicating the owner’s high social status. It has been suggested that this style was at first adopted from Scandinavia by the Frankish court as a sign of political independence from the East Roman Empire.
The silver is keyed by hammering into fine grooves in the surface of the iron, creating a colour contrast between the two metals. This type of work is typical of the late sixth and seventh centuries in continental Europe.
W. Menghin (ed.), Tauschierarbeiten der Merowing (Berlin, 1994)
H. Newman, An illustrated dictionary of J (London, Thames and Hudson, 1981)