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«SOME NEW AND NEGLECTED FINDS OF 9th-CENTURY ANGLO-SAXON ORNAMENTAL METALWORK (Figs. 2, 3, 4; PI. IV, B) The purpose of this note is to record six ...»

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15 P. D. C. Brown and F. Schweizer, 'X-Ray Fluorescent Analysis of Anglo-Saxon Jewellery', Archaeometry, 15,2

(1973),175-9 2.

16 J. P. C. Kent, 'Gold Standards of the Merovingian Coinage A.D. 580-700', 6g--74in E. T. Hall and D. M. Metcalf

(eds.), Methods oj Chemical and Metallurgical Investigation oj Ancient Coinage (Royal Numismatic Society Special

Publication, 1972).

17 D. Brown, 'The Dating of the Sutton Hoo Coins', 71-86 in D. Brown,]' Campbell and S. C. Hawkes (eds.), Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 2 (Brit. Archaeol. Repts., Brit. Ser., 92, Oxford, 1981).


ANGLO-SAXON ORNAMENTAL METALWORK (Figs. 2, 3, 4; PI. IV, B) The purpose of this note is to record six minor pieces of Anglo-Saxon ornamental metalwork that display various aspects of the 9th-century Trewhiddle style; these comprise four recent discoveries, and two relevant older and neglected finds. They are discussed only in such detail as is necessary to place them firmly within this rapidly growing corpus of material.

The objects include two silver hooked tags from Kent, one of which is an old find collected by John Brent, a 19th-century antiquarian in E. Kent, who bequeathed it to the Royal Museum, Canterbury, of which he was an honorary curator (Fig. 2, 1).1 The second was excavated in 1980 on the Marlowe IV site in Canterbury, W. ofSt Mary Bredin Church (Fig. 2, 2; PI. IV, B). It was found in a dark grey-brown clayey loam that formed an extensive r zth-century deposit, probably of soil, sealing the Anglo-Saxon horizons. 2 The other four objects consist of strap-ends, ofwhich two are also from Kent. The finest of these was acquired by the Royal Museum, Canterbury, from Mr E. Woodward who found it in 1980 on the beach at St Mildred's Bay, Thanet (Fig. 3, I). The second example, also in the Royal Museum, Canterbury, once formed part of Brent's collection of E. Kentish antiquities (Fig. 3, 2); it is illustrated in the manuscript Catalogue oj Saxon Antiquities in the Possession oj Cecil Brent, F.S.A. (1884), pl. 17, 14, among objects from the cemeteries at Stowting and Faversham.f The other two strap-ends are both recent single-finds, one being from Long Wittenham, Oxfordshire, which is now in the Ashmolean Museum (Fig. 3,4).4 The second was found at Lode, on the Fen Edge near Cambridge, by Mr A. J. Rank of Bottisham who has retained it, after submitting it for examination to the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Fig. 3, 3).5 Descriptions Hooked tag of silver in poor condition (Fig. 2, I), with a rounded plate which is part missing in two places, including one of its pair of projecting perforated lugs; the back is plain. The main body of the object is defined by beaded borders which are also used to divide its surface into three sub-triangular fields containing incised ornament, originally nielloed; thejunction between the plate and the hook is marked by a pair of transverse lines. The two larger fields are filled with foliate or sub-foliate designs, that on the left consisting of a Z-scroll terminating in leaves with double-nicked contours, the other containing a figure-of-eight, with leaf-like protuberances within its ends and double-nicked contours, interlaced with a free ring. The small field is filled with an animal in profile; the contours of its body are double nicked. Length: 3 IO mm.

Royal Museum, Canterbury: 2430. From E. Kent (ex]. Brent col!.).

Hookedtag of silver (Fig. 2,2; P!. IV, B), with a circular plate now bent and with part of one of its pair of projecting perforated lugs missing; the back is plain. The main body of the object is defined by a plain border which is extended to divide its surface into three sub-triangular fields containing incised nielloed ornament." Thejunction between the plate and the hook is marked by a stylized moulded animal-head seen from above, with a squared-off snout from which the hook emerges; the front of the head is lozenge-shaped, incised with a niello-inlaid line, above which is a pair ofoval ears with lunate incisions.


–  –  –

The two larger fields contain single animals in profile, with an open-jawed head in the upper angle having a drilled eye; behind the head is a club-like feature with a drilled terminal (to be interpreted as the ear). There is a double band across the neck, and the forequarters are indicated, but the body degenerates into interlace. This terminates in a bifurcated leaf and has a leaf-like off-shoot at the top of the field (on the left-hand animal this leaf is attached to a separate strand of interlace that intertwines with the body). The small field contains a single animal in profile with the same head and ear as the others, but its hindquarters degenerate into three lobes (two of which, like the body, have double bands

across them) and a frond-like tail; a bud-like lobe springs from the angle at the centre ofthe tag. Length:

370 mm. (originally C.430 mm).

Excavated by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust in 1980 on the Marlowe IV site, Canterbury, Kent.

Strap-endof silver in excellent condition (Fig. 3, I), terminating in an animal's head, seen in relieffrom above with prominent oval ears which have lunate incisions; the reverse is plain. The split-end has two rivet-holes with a fan-shaped field between them. There is a beaded border along either side of the main body of the strap-end which is divided into four sub-rectangular fields containing incised ornament that was presumably originally nielloed (the object was scrubbed by its finder). The upper left-hand field contains a single animal in profile with two-toed feet and an angular tail; its open-jawed head has a squared-off snout, a bulge over the eye and a club-like ear. The upper right-hand field contains a regular two-strand interlace, whereas the lower two fields each contain a single animal whose body degenerates into interlace. Length: 450 mm.

Royal Museum, Canterbury. Found in 1980 on the beach at St Mildred's Bay, Westgate-an-Sea, Thanet, Kent.

Strap-endof copper alloy (Fig. 3, 2), in poor condition with a pitted and corroded surface, broken across the split-end so that its rivet-holes are missing; the reverse is plain. The terminal retains traces of incised lines so as to suggest a highly stylized animal's head seen from above. The main body is divided into four sub-rectangular fields; each of the lower pair contains a backward-looking animal, with a squared-off snout, bump over the eye, nicked contours, well-formed hip, and two-toed feet. The upper pair each contains a single animal whose body degenerates into interlace, with a raised three-toed front leg; that on the left-hand animal is inserted into an indentation in its body. Length (damaged): 440 mm.

Royal Museum, Canterbury: 2182. From Stowting or Faversham, Kent (ex]ohn Brent coll.).

Strap-endof silver in excellent condition (Fig. 3, 3), with traces ofniello inlay, terminating in an incised animal's head seen from above with round eyes and comma-shaped ears, between which is a heart-shaped motif; the reverse is plain. Its butt-end is unusually deeply split (c.150 mm long) with two rivet holes. The main body is divided by plain borders into six fields, the four largest ofwhich form two pairs of irregular shape; there is a triangular field below the rivet-holes and another at the centre of the design. The four major fields contain foliate or sub-foliate interlacing motifs, with occasionally nicked contours. Length: 520 mm.

In private possession. Found in 1980 at Lode, Cambridgeshire.


Strap-end of copper alloy in worn condition (Fig. 3,4), with traces of niello inlay, terminating in an incised animal's head seen from above with oval ears which have lunate incisions; the reverse is plain.

The split-end has its pair of rivets in place. The body of the strap-end has plain borders and is divided into six main fields, including a fan-shaped one below the rivets which contains a small rivet-hole for a boss. The central field is in the form of a concave-sided lozenge with beaded borders at the centre of which is attached a low boss. The four surrounding fields contain foliate S- and Z-scrolls and interlacing motifs. Length: 470 mm.

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford: 1979.948. Found in 1979 at Long Wittenham, Oxfordshire.

The hooked tags Hooked tags of pre-Conquest date (sometimes described as 'strap-hooks', 'garmenthooks', 'garter-hooks', 'lace-tags', and simply 'hooks' or 'tags') received little attention in print prior to Dr Tania Dickinson's discussion in 1973 of five small bronze examples of triangular shape found at Shakenoak, Oxfordshire, in which she cited a variety of published examples from Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Scandinavian and Scandinavian sites of 7th- to rothcentury date. 7 Three examples from Cirencester, Glos., were published by Mr David Brown in 19768 who introduced into the discussion some further published examples from a similar range of sites, confirming their 7th- to roth-century date-range, as also accepted by Mr David Hinton in his 1976 publication of two examples from Portchester, Hants.? It should be noted, however, that some of those excavated in Winchester, Hants., have in a preliminary publication l? been dated to the 'roth and/or I r th-centurv' and it is reasonable to suppose that such fasteners were still in use towards the end of the Anglo-Saxon period, as is suggested by some of the hooked tags from Cheddar, Somerset.U Although many of these examples are simple objects made from sheet metal, either plain or with lightly incised patterns, there were a few cast and elaborately ornamented hooked tags known by the mid 1970s, most notably a pair of triangular tags found beneath the knees of a skeleton on the Cathedral Green, Winchester.V Each has three perforated lobed extensions, and is divided by beaded lines into seven nielloed fields containing semi-foliate ornament allied to the 9th-century Trewhiddle style. The publication of these pieces overlooked the only silver hooked tag then known also to be ornamented in the Trewhiddle style - that found in a Viking-age grave at Birka, Sweden (PI. IV, B).13 This circular example has recently been republished.P' but the opportunity is taken here to illustrate for the first time its ornament in an analytical drawing by Mrs Eva Wilson (Fig. 4) which distinguishes between the two intertwined and speckled elements that form the design - one zoomorphic (plain) and the other semi-foliate (tinted). The heavy speckling of the ornament and details of the animal's treatment, including its head (seen in profile, with a square snout, bump over the eye, and semi-foliate ear) and its well-formed forequarters and hip, relate this creature to the animal motifs employed in the Trewhiddle style, although it is quite exceptional in its elongated neck and looping, ribbon-shaped body. In this respect it comes a little closer to some of the ornament on the Abingdon, Oxon. sword P than to anything in the Trewhiddle hoard itself.l" Panel 26 on the Abingdon sword contains a single animal with an elongated curving body which is caught up in a tendril. This tendril is, however, an off-shoot of the animal's tail and not an independent plant-motif as on the Birka hooked tag (cf. the simple 'potted plants' on such Trewhiddle-style objects as the Burghead, Morayshire, hornmount, 17 or the much more elaborate fleuronne design on the reverse of the Alfred j ewelj.I" Although it is common in the Trewhiddle style for animals to have foliate extensions or to degenerate into vegetable interlace (cf. the Canterbury hooked tag), it is unusual to find such a composition consisting of an animal intertwining with a separate plant motifin the manner ofsome 8th-century ornament, although birds and branches are combined in roundels on the Fuller brooch19 and in panel 5 on the Abingdon sword.

It is less surprising that the hooked tag from E. Kent (Fig. 2, I) has been completely overlooked, for the quality of its mainstream Trewhiddle-style ornament has only recently been revealed by cleaning. Its rounded shape is something of a compromise between the


–  –  –

triangular Winchester tags and the circular Birka tag. As on the Winchester tags (and as is common in the Trewhiddle style), its surface is divided into small fields by beaded lines. The semi-foliate and foliate motifs in the two large fields are present on other Trewhiddle-style pieces (the figure-of-eight with ring on the larger of the Beeston Tor disc brooches.P'' the foliate spiral on the Abingdon sword). The single animal in the small triangular field is ofa well-known type within the Trewhiddle hoard itself (and on the Burghead horn-mount, etc.);

the double nicks into the edges of its body are a standard feature that replaces the speckling on many Trewhiddle-style animals.

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