Brooch, pin and bangle

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from Castletown, Caithness

Postcard of Brooch, pin and bangle.
© National Museums Scotland

Brooch, pin and bangle

This brass oval brooch, bone pin and bangle, possibly made of lignite, were found, together with a second oval brooch, in a woman's grave in the top of a broch mound at Castletown in Caithness. The burial dates from between 850 and 950.

The perforated outer shell of the brooch is decorated with figures of horses' heads. The plain bangle is made of lignite, a material resembling expensive and much-prized jet. The simple bone pin was probably used as a hair or dress pin.

The oval brooch is an ornate type used in the 10th century in Scandinavia. It is one of the latest types found in Scotland. Settlers after this time either converted to Christianity and did not bury their dead with grave goods or simply adopted Scottish fashions.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-711-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 221
Date: 10th century
Between 850 and 950
Material: Bone
Oval; bowl-shaped; perforated outer shell; ornamented with figures of horses' heads; textile imprints on the reverse
Dimensions: 3.00" D
What: Armlet
Where: Scotland, Caithness, Castletown
Scotland, Caithness, Castletown
Scotland, Caithness, Castletown
Description: Shale armlet found in a broch at Castletown, Caithness
Bone pin found in a broch at Castletown, Caithness
Ornamented oval tortoise brooch with textile imprints on the reverse, from Castletown, Caithness, 10th century
  • Graham-Campbell, J. Viking artefacts. A select catalogue. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1980, no. 120. 
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, pp 68, 154. 
  • Grieg, Sigurd. Viking Antiquities in Scotland (=Viking Antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland, Part II, ed. by Haakon Shetelig). Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co., 1940, pp. 23-4. 
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