Early medieval silver brooch discovered after tipper truck delivery
PUBLISHED: 20:30 10 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:23 11 April 2020
A “beautifully preserved” centuries-old brooch discovered in mid Norfolk has been described by The British Museum as one of the most significant finds of last year.
It comes after the museum revealed that the number of Treasure finds made by members of the public hit a record level in 2019.
Treasure - which is generally defined as gold and silver objects that are over 300 years old, or groups of coins and prehistoric metalwork - reached a preliminary figure of 1,311 across England, Wales and Northern Ireland during last year.
One find was a “beautifully preserved” 1,100-year-old medieval brooch, unearthed in Great Dunham, between Dereham and King’s Lynn, after a tipper truck delivered spoil.
The brooch is described as a rare type for this period.
Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, said: “These discoveries by the public are vital for advancing our understanding of Britain’s diverse history, and it is incredibly encouraging that so many finds have been voluntarily recorded through the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme.
“PAS and Treasure are truly national partnerships with museums, experts, Finds Liaison Officers and members of the public collaborating together to aid our understanding of the past.”
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A report on the early medieval silver and niello 9th century brooch said it was found in a closed position “incredibly well-preserved”.
It added: “A rare find of this condition and type.
“A distinctive stylised Anglo-Saxon decoration called ‘Trewhiddle’, featuring zoomorphic beasts, plant motifs and geometric design, helps date the brooch to the ninth century, in line with similar finds from this period.
“Whilst we know the findspot of the brooch, an investigation of the site revealed that the topsoil was composed of recently delivered spoil from a tipper truck delivering from somewhere else in mid Norfolk.
“It is possible that the brooch therefore originates in the region of Pentney, Norfolk, given the similarity with that spectacular collection of brooches, which are on display in the Sutton Hoo gallery of the British Museum, and whose virtuoso craftsmanship and inventive decoration put them in the first rank of Middle Saxon metalwork.”
A total of 81,602 finds were recorded with the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme in 2019. Almost 90 per cent of the archaeological items were discovered by metal detectorists. Norfolk was the county which produced the most finds, followed by Suffolk and Hampshire.
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