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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 a gold shoulder-clasp inlaid with garnet cloisonné and glass. This clasp carries the opposite half of a hinge mechanism that links it to shoulder-clasp 1939,1010.5 (which carries the chain and pin).

    The clasp is curved in section and consists of a rectangular plate with rounded end. The hinge runs along the straight end. The clasp has loops for attaching it to a garment underneath.

    The rectangular plate contains a central panel of fifteen cloisonné cells filled alternately with millefiori glass and garnets. These are interspersed with slightly larger plain garnet cells. The central panel is bordered on each side with designs of interlacing beasts, their bodies formed of inlaid garnets and their eyes of blue glass. The eyes of the two beasts in the upper border (separating the rectangular panel from the curved end-piece) differ from the rest, being formed of concentric circles inlaid with blue glass and garnet.

    The rounded end contains a design of two interlinked boars, executed in garnet cloisonné. Their heads are down, and their curved backs from the rounded end of the clasp. Their hip-joints are inlaid with millefiori glass. The spaces between the boars’ legs are filled with a zoomorphic design, and the central field a non-zoomorphic motif, all in gold filigree. The cells behind the boars’ back legs are inlaid with garnets.

    The garnet 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)


If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: MCS15688

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