Gold disc pendant


British Museum

British Museum

This is one of the largest and finest of many surviving Anglo-Saxon disc pendants. It was found by chance in the late nineteenth century in a chalk pit near some prehistoric barrows. Disc pendants have been found across Anglo-Saxon England and reflect the increasing uniformity of fashion across the developing Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. They were often decorated with cross motifs, suggesting a growing awareness of Christianity among the general population in the seventh century.The pendant demonstrates a range of jewellery techniques. In the centre a shell boss in a dog-tooth bezel is set with a central garnet. Garnets with shell collars are typical of high-status belt-buckles and disc-brooches from the period (such as the composite disc brooch from Sarre). Four V-shaped 'cross' arms linking the central bezel to the rim were fashioned in pseudo-plaited wire. Four garnet cabochons are set between the arms. The V-shaped and semi-circular wires are formed of triple strands of beaded filigree wire. Although relatively simple to execute, the wire decoration creates a rich and glittering surface.

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  • Title: Gold disc pendant
  • Date Created: 600/699
  • Physical Dimensions: Diameter: 4.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: filigree; plaited; inlaid
  • Subject: cross
  • Registration number: 1871,1207.1
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Acklam Wold
  • Period/culture: Early Anglo-Saxon
  • Material: gold; white paste; garnet
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Mortimer, J R


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