- Museum number
Copper alloy animal-head brooch has an exterior divided into five panels by broad ribbed borders, each filled with cast degenerate animal decoration. A pin is attached to the back. Replica.
- Production date
Width: 14 - 33 millimetres
Length: 47 - 54 millimetres
Height: 23.50 millimetres (max)
Weight: 160.80 grammes
- Curator's comments
- Associated dates : 11thC (of original)
Comment from Kidd, Haith & Ager 'Summary Catalogue' (draft MS)
Replica of 11th-century, Gotlandic type
Provenance if visual identification with Kruse (1859 below) is correct, then original is from Aizkraukle, Rīga apr., Latvia
A summary introduction to the Bähr Collection of 1852
Professor Johann Karl Bähr (1801-1869) held a chair first as the Riga Academy of Art and subsequently at Dresden. He began to form an archaeological collection of mainly Balt and Finno-Ugrian material following the floods along the River Daugava (Duna) in summer 1837, which uncovered or washed out several inhumation cemeteries of the period, notably at Aizkraukle (formerly Ascheraden) and Sigulda (Segewold).
Violent political unrest on the Continent in 1848-49 seems to have been one of the chief reasons behind his decision to sell his collection, as well as disillusion with the debate over the significance of the material he had assembled, which gainsaid his own view that the Iron Age artefacts had belonged to the native Finno-Ugrian Livs. The collection was acquired by the British Museum in 1852 on account of perceived analogies to Viking-period finds that were being made in England.
Although no original manuscript catalogue seems to have reached London, Bähr published an account of his excavations at Aizkraukle and Sigulda (Bähr 1850). This forms the basis of and supplements the information about findspots recorded in the register. But it still itemises only eight of the fifty or more graves that he excavated at the former site and gives only a small selection of those from the latter and the region of Daugmale. There appear to be further arrangements of objects by significant groups in the register, which possibly indicate grave assemblages that future research may be able to identify. (Barry Ager)
Bähr J.K, Die Gräber der Liven - Ein Beitrag zur nordischen Alterthumskunde und Geschichte. Dresden 1850, pp. 6, 8, 59 pl. VII: 1
Kruse F, Necrolivonica oder Geschichte und Alterthümer, etc., new ed. Leipzig 1859, p. 10 (3) pl. 14:9.
Nerman B, Svenskarna i Ostbaltikum under Vikingatiden Enligt Arkeologiens Vittnesbörd, RIG 10, Stockholm 1927, p. 16 fig. 50.
Lithberg N, 'Gotland i British Museum, Fornvännen 23, Stockholm 1928, p. 194.
Nerman B, Die Verbindungen zwischen Scandinavien und dem Ostbaltikum in der Jüngeren Eisenzeit, KVHAA Handlingar 40:1. Stockholm 1929, p. 151 fig. 164.
Carlsson A, 'Senvendeltida och vikingatida djurhuvudformiga spännen från Gotland, en kvantitativ bearbetning', Fornvännen 72, Stockholm 1977, p. 147.
Carlsson A. Djurhuvudformiga spännen och gotländsk vikingatid, Stockholm Studies in Archaeology 5. Stockholm 1983, p. 186 no. 93-7.
None mentions doubt of authenticity. However, the inclusion of the pin-fittings as a solid block on the back shows it is a casting from an original brooch and the filing away of excess metal here and on the end appears to be recent.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number