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From near the Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney

Postcard of Pin.
© National Museums Scotland


This bronze pin was found in a burial near the Earl's Palace at Birsay in Orkney. It is a type often used as a Viking dress pin, but in this case had probably pinned together the shroud wrapping a body in a burial. It dates from between 940 and 1025.

The ringed pin has a moveable ring at one end to which some thread would have been attached. The other end of the thread would have been looped over the tip of the pin to stop it from slipping out of the garment. The squared-off end has incised decoration.

During the 10th century the Vikings settlers in Scotland converted to Christianity. From then on they did not bury their dead with a range of objects for the afterlife, as they had done when pagan, but instead with Christian rites and no grave goods.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-036-319-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 135
Date: Between 940 and 1025
Material: Bronze; ring head; square end of upper part of head ornamented
Dimensions: 6.88" L
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Birsay and Harray, Earl's Palace
Description: Ringed bronze pin from a suspected shroud burial near Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney
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