Length: 5.100 cm
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Room 41: Europe AD 300-1100
Northern Germanic, late 7th-early 8th century
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.
S. Vinsrygg, Merovingartid i Nord-Noreg (Bergen, 1979)
S. Marzinzik, Masterpieces: Early medieval a (London, British Museum Press, 2013)