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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    One half of gold shoulder-clasp plate (other half 1939,1010.5). Carries the opposite half of the hinge mechanism to 1939,1010.5, which carries the chain and pin. Curved in section, with loops for attachment underneath and a hinge down the straight side. A loop and chain is attached at the top of the plate, fixed to a plain gold pin with an animal head terminal in filigree, fixing it to clasp 1939,1010.5.a. The whole consists of a rectangular plate with rounded end. The rectangular plate contains a central panel of fifteen cloisonné cells filled alternately with millefiori and garnets, and interspersed with slightly larger plain garnet cells. Each side of the rectangle is decorated with a separate panel of zoomorphic interlace in garnet cloisonné, some of the beasts having millefiori eyes.The rounded end contains a pair of interlinked boars in garnet work, their heads down and their curving backs forming the rounded end of the clasp. Their hip-joints are filled with millefiori, and the spaces between their legs are filled with gold filigree in a zoomorphic pattern. These animals have hip-joints with granulation, and the central field is filled with a non-zoomorphic filigree motif. The cells are underlaid with stamped gold foil.


  • School/style

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • late 6thC-early 7thC (c. AD 560/70-610)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 12.7 centimetres (incl 5)
    • Width: 5.4 centimetres
    • Weight: 95.44 grammes (excluding 5)
  • Bibliography

    • Marzinzik 2013 104-105 bibliographic details
    • Bruce-Mitford 1978 Fig.386 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Exhibition history


    2008 15 Mar-2 Nov, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre, East Anglia: The Life and Death of a Kingdom
    1980 10 Mar-30 Sep, Sweden, Stockholm, Statens Historika Museum, The Vikings are Here

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1939

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 1939,10-10,4a (former number)
COMPASS Image Caption: Shoulder clasps

COMPASS Image Caption: Shoulder clasps

Image description



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Object reference number: MCS15688

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