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Plated disc brooch


Diameter: 4.950 cm

Collected by Messrs Rollin and Feuardent

M&ME 1879,5-24,34

Britain, Europe and Prehistory

    Plated disc brooch

    Anglo-Saxon, late 6th or early 7th century AD
    From Grave 8, Wingham, Kent, England

    A circular brooch with garnet cloisonné, shell and filigree decoration

    Brooches of this class are termed 'plated' because a smaller gold front plate is soldered to a cast silver backing plate. Although related to the disc-brooch type, this method of manufacture allowed more elaborate compositions incorporating garnet cloisonné. On this attractive example, triangular fields of garnet cloisonné create a four-pointed star around the cloisonné ring that encircles the central shell boss. The boss is set with a bevelled garnet in a tubular bezel. Four circular cells with shell collars around garnet inlays radiate between the cloisonné points. C-scrolls in filigree wire cover the field. Opaque blue glass is set in the apex of the points and the central ring.

    This brooch was buried with other objects: two gold pendants stamped with snakes; a gold pin with a terminal decorated with filigree and cloisonné bird heads; a Byzantine copper-alloy bowl; a cowrie shell and two amethyst beads. This combination of grave goods is typical of high-status Kentish graves in the early seventh century. At this time increased commercial connections with the east brought imported objects to England. The imitation of Frankish fashion was also at its height and the use of blue glass is characteristic of continental objects of this period.

    R. Avent, Anglo-Saxon garnet inlaid disc (Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, 1975)


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