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 Museum Explorer

Tools & technology in Anglo-Saxon England

Shoulder clasps

From: Mound 1, Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
Date: early 7th century AD

These heavy clasps were found in the Sutton Hoo ship burial. They would have fastened the leather armour of the man who was buried there at the shoulder. These clasps are very strong: when the pin is pushed through the two halves, locking them together, nothing can move them.

The clasps are richly decorated with an Anglo-Saxon technique called garnet cloisonné. Beautiful red garnets have been inserted with great skill into a pattern made from gold wires.