- Museum number
Gold buckle: circular faceted loop; faceted club-shaped tongue; cast rectangular plate a frame for 4 triangular all-over cloisonné garnet inlays, divided up by a thin gold saltire; folded flap attachment and back-plate secured by two rivets.
The gold buckle has a rectangular plate with all-over cloisonné garnet inlays, an oval loop and faceted tongue.
The attachment-plate is rectangular and composite, with four levels of construction. Its top is the same size as the base-plate and they are joined round the edges by a 1mm wide, rectangular gold strip soldered between them. The top consists of a frame divided by a saltire into four triangular cells. The frame is recessed into the triangular garnet inlay at the point where the tongue is hinged to the plate. There are plain gold foils beneath the garnets, which are moderately well cut, but chipped. The tops of the cell walls are burred over to secure the garnets, which has obscured any joins.
The top and the back-plate are linked by the folded flap attachment and were made from the same gold sheet. There is a 2mm wide slot in the centre of the folded flap attachment to accommodate the buckle-tongue.
The back-plate of the buckle is rectangular, the same size as the top. It is fastened to the base-plate with rivets which are secured behind the base-plate, so that each rivet-head lies inside the composite unit.
The loop is oval of solid gold and octagonal in section. It is thickest at the centre and narrows towards the ends where it is secured by the folded flap attachment. It is not possible to tell from surface examination to what extent the loop was cast to shape. It has a butt joint concealed by the tongue, so it could have been entirely worked.
The tongue is club-shaped, heptagonal in section and faceted. Its end is sharply hooked about 4mm over the loop. The base is cut off where the attachment-hook of the tongue is connected; there are two engraved lines here. This hook is in the form of a rectangular-section strip narrowing towards the end and is formed from the same piece as the tongue. The tongue gives no surface indication of its techniques of manufacture.
Shoe-, sword-, or belt-buckle.
- Production date
Length: 38.70 millimetres
Weight: 24.14 grammes
Width: 21.10 millimetres
Percentage: 89 % of rim (gold (loop))
Percentage: 99 % of rim (gold (side of cell))
- Curator's comments
- Andrási 2008
Dalton O.M. 1924, Sarmatian ornaments from Kerch in the British Museum, compared with Anglo-Saxon and Merovingian ornaments in the same collection. Antiquaries Journal IV, 262, pl. XXXVII:5 reproduced from Dalton O.M. 1924, The Sarmatian origin of Anglo-Saxon jewellery. Illustrated London News no. 268, 268–71.
Moss H.St.L.B. 1935, The Birth of the Middle Ages. Oxford, 395–814, xiv, pl. III B lower left.
GHA 1987. Germanen, Hunnen und Awaren. Schätze der Völkerwanderungszeit. Verlag des Germanischen Nationalmuseum. Nuremburg, (Kidd) 112, ill. I,16.n
Many similar buckles have been found in the region of the Hunnic empire. According to Bóna they were worn during a single generation in the second third of the 5th century (425–455) in Pannonia and its neighbourhood by the military aristocracy associated with the Hunnic empire. They functioned as belt-, sword-, or shoe-buckles. There is a wide range of buckles of this type varying in the exact shape of the attachment-plate, garnet inlays, loop and tongue, number of attachment-rivets, etc. The closest parallels are the gold examples with rectangular buckle-plates and flat garnet inlays such as that from Novogrigorevka (Ukraine) in the Hermitage. Its tongue is missing. There are buckles from Kerch (find of 24 June 1904) with a similar feature of the frame recessed into the garnet inlay where the tongue is hinged to the plate. Zasetskaya  and Kovalevskaya  dated these buckles to the end of the 4th/first half of the 5th century. But in Aibabin’s opinion, according to the comparative pieces from Kerch, the buckle from the Berthier-Delagarde Collection cannot be dated earlier than the 5th century. There is a buckle with a flat, rectangular garnet inlay from Kerch in the Massoneau Collection, Cologne, dated to the first half of the 5th century by Damm. The buckle from Jedrzychowice (Höckricht, Poland) has triangular settings, while the one from Wolfsheim (Germany) is decorated with a different sort of rectangular inlay. A buckle in the Magyar Nemzeti Múzeum (Budapest) has four square settings.
In most cases similar buckles with rectangular attachment-plates belonged to women according to Bóna.
1. Bóna I. 1991, Das Hunnenreich (Budapest-Stuttgart), 100–1, 252–4; ill.39 has a distribution map of the Pannonian pieces
2. Minaeva T.M. 1927, Pogrebenie s sozhzheniem bliz gor. Pokrovska. Uchenie Zapiski Saratovskogo Gos. Uni., IV,3 91–123; Bóna I. 1993, A hunok és nagykirályaik. Budapest, 90–1, 228–9, ill. 39; Alföldi A. 1932, Leletek a hun korszakból és etnikai szétválasztásuk - Funde aus der Hunnenzeit und ihre ethnische Sonderung. Arch.Hung. IX. 62, 78; pl. XXII:20
3. Spitsin A.A. 1905, Veshchi s inkrustatsiei iz Kerchenskikh katakomb 1904 g. IAK, 17, 118, ills 12, 16 (silver with gold settings); Zasetskaya I.P. 1979, Bosporskiye sklepi gunnskoi epokhi kak khronologicheskiy etalon dlya datirovki pamyatnikov Vostochnoevropeiskikh stepei. KSIA 158, 5–17; pls 3:62, 63, 6; Zasetskaya I.P. 1993, Materialy bosporskogo nekropolya vtoroi poloviny IV - pervoi poloviny V vv. n. e. MAIET III, 56–7, pl. 26:103; Zasetskaya I.P. 1994, Kul’tura kochevnikov Yuzhnorusskikh stepei v Gunnskoi epokhi (Konets IV–V vv.). Nomadic Culture of the South Russian Steppelands: The End of the Fourth and the Fifth Centuries AD. St Petersburg. 165, pl. 5:10
4. Kovalevskaya V.B. 1979, Poyasnuye nabory Evrazii 4–9 v. Pryazhki. Arkh. SSSR E 1–2, 16; pl. II:3
5. Aibabin in Andrási 2008 pp.141-150
6. Damm I.G. 1988, Goldschmiedearbeiten der Völkerwanderungszeit aus dem Nördlichen Schwarzmeergebiet. Katalog der Sammlung Diergardt 2. Kölner Jahrbuch für Vor- und Frühgeschichte 21, 101; ills 31–2
7. Werner J. 1956, Beiträge zur Archäologie des Attila-Reiches. (BayrAW. Abh., NF 38a) Munich. pl. 27:3, 64:9
8. Werner 1956 op cit., 124; pl. 4:7a-b
9. Inv. no. 5.1886.2; Alföldi 1932 op. cit., 85–8; pl. XXXIV:12; Bóna 1991 op. cit., 100–1 ill. 39, 253 no. 14; Bóna 1993 op cit., 90–1 ill. 39, 228 no. 4
10. Bóna 1991 op cit., 291; Bóna 1993 op. cit., 261
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1988 12 Mar-15 May, Germany, Frankfurt, Kunsthalle Shirn Am Römerberg, Germanen, Hunnen und Avaren
1987 12 Dec-1988 21 Feb, Germany, Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Germanen, Hunnen und Avaren
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 151 (old catalogue number)