1,000-year-old Norfolk find declared treasure

Norfolk Coroner's Court ruled the late Saxon gold strip with gem and glass settings as treasure. Pic

Norfolk Coroner's Court ruled the late Saxon gold strip with gem and glass settings as treasure. Picture: Norfolk County Council - Credit: Archant

A Saxon decorative piece dating back to as early as the 10th century has been declared as treasure.

Yvonne Blake, area coroner for Norfolk, opened an inquest into a find on Tuesday, June 2 at Norfolk Coroner’s Court.

Ms Blake described the item as a late Saxon gold strip with gem and glass settings, which dates between the 10th and 11th century.

The item was found by a metal detector near Aldborough on December 23 2018.

A report to the court said the item comprised of a rectangular strip of gold bent into a loop with a visible joining seam, which was now partially split and squashed out of shape.

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Further details about the strip stated the outer face was extensively decorated.

Ms Blake said; “Each long edge is bordered by a gold wire strip followed by a strip of gold filigree. The centre is divided into four rectangular fields by strips of sheet gold set on their edge within which is a repeating design. Within each field are further sheet gold walls forming a central rounded cell.

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“An oblong cloison with rounded end radiates from each of the cardinal points. Some of these retain fragments of cut red glass or gem inlay. Between each cloison are one or two applied gold granules.

“At either end of each field is a scrolling gold strip forming two opposed curls with a central teardrop-shaped cell in the centre. Red glass beads are visible set within many of the cells. On either side of the seam is a scroll forming an opposed symmetrical design.

“Some of the glass settings are visibly loose and the finder retrieved three fragments which fell out of their settings shortly after discovery.”

The report also said the function of the artefact was unclear but that its diameter and thickness suggested that it was more likely to be a decorative element from a larger object, rather than a finger-ring.

Treasure inquests are held to decide whether historical objects found on or buried in the ground should be classed as treasure.

Ms Blake said due to the age of the strip and its precious metal content that it was treasure.

Under the Treasures Act, treasure is defined as a item that is not a single coin, which contains at least 10pc of gold or silver and is at least 300 years old. It also extends to a find of more than 10 coins which are at least 300 years old.

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