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from Braeswick, Sanday, Orkney

Postcard of Brooch.
© National Museums Scotland


This brass oval brooch was found at Braeswick on Sanday in Orkney. It is a type worn by Scandinavian women between 800 and 900. Three beads were also found nearby, suggesting that these finds may be the remains of a woman's grave.

The brooch was formed from a single convex plate. It is decorated with an interlace pattern and four bosses. The edges are missing and the whole brooch is very decayed.

Oval brooches are a very distinctive form of Viking ornament, worn by women in pairs on their shoulders to hold up a pinafore. They were mass produced in Scandinavia and widely copied.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-753-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0036: Kiloran Bay Viking Burial (multimedia essay)
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.IL 343
Date: 9th century
Between 800 and 900
Material: Brass; oval; formed of a single plate; four bosses; much decayed; pin missing
Dimensions: 3.31" L
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Sanday
Description: Oval brass brooch formed of a single plate with four bosses, with faint traces of textiles around pin fastener, from Sanday, Orkney, 9th century
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, p 57. 
  • Grieg, Sigurd. Viking Antiquities in Scotland (=Viking Antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland, Part II, ed. by Haakon Shetelig). Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co., 1940, p 88. 
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