Early medieval disc brooch

Crafted from copper-alloy, this early medieval disc brooch features a bird holding a branch (outlined above by Peter Reavill, Finds Liaison Officer for Shropshire and Hereford). The item is thought to date to between c.AD 800 and c.AD 1000, and it was found on farmland this past summer by a metal-detectorist near Stoke upon Tern in Shropshire.

The brooch measures 39mm across, with a central panel 24mm in diameter. The recessed rim is decorated with raised curves and beaded around the outside, but it survives incomplete: approximately a third has been lost completely and a further small section has become detached.

The bird, in the central panel, is depicted against a background decorated with coloured enamels of light and dark blue, with small sections of red, yellow, and white. The technique used was champlevé enamelling, which would have involved creating depressions in the brooch that would then have been filled with powdered glass and fired. The reverse is not decorated, but there is a dished recess corresponding with the central panel. 

The item is the seventh of its type to be recorded, five comparable examples having been discovered in England and one having been found in France. Two opposing rivets on the rim suggest that the brooch may have been reused as a mount.

For more information on this brooch, see https://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/1035679 or search for LVPL-4C65AC on the PAS database.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme is an initiative, funded by the DCMS, to encourage the voluntary recording of archaeological objects found by members of the public in England and Wales. For more information on the Scheme, and to browse its database of over 1.5 million finds, visit www.finds.org.uk. Information for this find was provided by Heather Beeton, the Portable Antiquities Scheme’s Finds Liaison Officer for Cheshire, Greater Manchester, and Merseyside, based at the Museum of Liverpool.
IMAGES: © British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme; National Museums Liverpool.