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Copper-alloy gilt ?reused ?harness fitting

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posted on 2021-10-26, 15:08 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Bronze-gilt disc, perhaps a horse-trapping, re-used as brooch? Diam. 4.6 cm. Cast as a solid disc with plain bronze rim and (broken) rect. loop at top. At back 1 central rivet and one at centre bottom. Traces of rivet removed at top and on one side, on the other a patch has been run in (liquid bronze) to plug a hole perhaps from another rivet. No real trace of brooch fastenings, unless the two surviving rivets were left deliberately and in some way re-used to secure a pin. The front decorated with very fine Style II ornament in chip carving technique. Plain bronze roundel in centre, flat and obviously imitating a garnet, surrounded by chip-carved gilded ridge. Between this and rim a gilded zone of Style II work: four ribbon animals in pursuit and interlinked. Each has a head with eye, obtuse angled squared 'helmet' with upcurled lower end, detached jaw biting own doubled body, jaws then crossing each other and lower jaw biting across loop of next animal body. Body triple stranded. Neck curving down and under next one's lower jaw, over own lower jaw and under upper, and continuing to terminate in bent leg with oval hip and 4 toed claw, which rests upside down against rim close to creature's own head. A curious single feature bends and angles up and across above creature's head from behind, and this may be the foreleg. Technically very well executed. Only errors are that occasionally the animal has one-strand loop. N.B. Bronze rim at centre shows traces of tinning. Gilding very thick and bright.See Fern 2005 for similar finds. – B.B.


Grave ID

Guilton Grave 69

Object ID


Catalogue Number

M 6050


copper alloy, gilt (Sonia Hawkes Material Notes; bronze, gilt) (Antiquarian Material; brass, gilt)

Complete Keyword List (Including Alternatives)

miscellaneous, horse gear, unidentified (Sonia Hawkes Keyword; disc, horse trapping, brooch) (Antiquarian Keyword; fibula subnectens)




National Museums Liverpool


Mayer Collection

Original Collection


Category ID