Mount of silver

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found on St Ninian's Isle, Dunrossness, Shetland

Postcard of Mount of silver.
© National Museums Scotland

Mount of silver

This is the largest of three silver mounts found in a hoard of Pictish metalwork on St Ninian's Isle at Dunrossness in Shetland. The hoard was buried on the site of an early Christian church sometime between 750 and 825.

The two opposing drilled holes on the sides of the cone-shaped mount are joined by a silver tube. The mount is engraved with eight animals in a complicated interlace pattern. The function of the mounts is unknown.

The metalwork found in the St Ninian's Isle treasure shows the skill and accomplishment of Pictish craftsmen. Some of the decorative motifs, such as those on the mounts, can be paralleled on contemporary Pictish stones.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-036-428-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FC 279
Date: 8th century
Buried between 750 and 825
Material: Silver gilt; conical; with a small tube above the base; covered all over with symmetrically arranged animal interlace in chip carving; base filled with a thin damaged disc with two small parallel rectangular slots
Dimensions: 1.75" H x 1.45" D; tube 0.40" above base
What: Mount
Where: Scotland, Shetland, St Ninian's Isle
Description: Conical silver-gilt mount decorated with symmetrically arranged animal interlace, from St Ninian's Isle, Pictish, 8th century
  • Calder, Jenni. The wealth of a nation. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland and Glasgow: Richard Drew Publishing, 1989, p 158. 
  • Small, A., Thomas, C., & Wilson, D. M. St. Ninian's Isle and its Treasure. London: Oxford University Press,1973 
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