Height: 4.700 cm
Width: 4.500 cm
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
The Wilton Cross
From Wilton, Norfolk, England
A cross-shaped gold and garnet cloisonné pendant set with an Early Byzantine coin
This pendant displays the reverse of a lightweight solidus of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (reigned AD 610-41), which can be dated to between 613 and 630. The coin reverse, with a cross potent (with bars across the ends of the arms) on a stepped base, has been mounted upside down, perhaps so that it appeared the correct way up to the wearer.
The coin is
held in a
The dated coin means that the Wilton Cross could not have been made before AD 613. In fact, the cross can also be dated by comparison with other high-quality Anglo-Saxon jewellery with overall garnet cloisonné. The combination of cell-shapes is paralleled on the Sutton Hoo ornaments and on a cloisonné cross found at Ixworth in Suffolk and now in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. These exceptionally fine pieces of jewellery were probably made in an East Anglian workshop active in the early seventh century AD.
L. Webster and J. Backhouse, The making of England: Anglo-S, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)
R.L.S. Bruce-Mitford, Aspects of Anglo-Saxon archaeo (London, Gollancz, 1974)