Oval brooch

Northern Germanic, late 7th-early 8th century AD
Said to be from a grave at Tromsø, Norway, possibly more closely located on the islet of Tussøya

Female costume jewellery

This copper-alloy oval brooch is incised with a crouching animal seen from above, its head at one end and its legs entwining across its back, giving it a beetle-like appearance. It was found in a grave with beads of glass and rock-crystal and a disc-on-bow brooch.

Oval brooches were usually worn in matching pairs to secure an overdress by pinning to shoulder-straps. They replaced the bow brooches of pre-Viking times. The earlier simple form became larger, higher and more elaborately decorated over time, although the costume that it adorned remained similar in style.

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More information


S. Vinsrygg, Merovingartid i Nord-Noreg (Bergen, 1979)

S. Marzinzik, Masterpieces: Early medieval a (London, British Museum Press, 2013)


Length: 5.100 cm

Museum number

Britain, Europe and Prehistory


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