Trefoil brooch

Viking, 10th century AD
Found at Roskilde, Denmark

Female costume jewellery

This trefoil (three-lobed) brooch is made of copper alloy. Each arm is decorated in Borre Style with a spreadeagled animal seen from above, its head in low, sunken relief facing in to the centre. A perforated lug on the back is for the attachment of a chain.

Brooches of this type were used to fasten a cloak or shawl on the breast. The form is modelled on Carolingian trefoil fittings from sword-belts of the ninth century, presumably either seized by the Vikings in raids on the Continent, or perhaps obtained peacefully through trade or the exchange of gifts. The decoration, however, uses animal rather than plant motifs, a style with which the Vikings were familiar. Simpler versions appear to have been mass-produced.

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More information


R.A. Smith, A guide to the Anglo-Saxon and (London, British Museum, 1923)


Length: 7.400 cm

Museum number

Gift of Sir A.W. Franks

Britain, Europe and Prehistory


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