Brooch (front)

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from Pierowall, Westray, Orkney

Postcard of Brooch (front).
© National Museums Scotland

Brooch (front)

This brass oval brooch was found in a burial from the Viking age cemetery at Pierowall on Westray in Orkney. It dates from the 9th century.

The oval brooch was cast in a single piece, and richly decorated in relief. It is missing a number of raised knobs which would have attached at the rivet holes. It is also damaged around the edges.

Oval brooches are a very distinctive form of jewellery worn by Viking women in pairs to fasten the straps of a pinafore. They were mass produced in Scandinavia and widely copied. A number of the female graves from Pierowall contained such brooches.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-729-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 197
Date: 9th century
Between 800 and 900
Material: Oval; bowl-shaped
What: Brooch
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Westray, Pierowall
Description: Oval tortoise brooch with textile imprints on the reverse, from Pierowall, Westray, 9th century
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, pp 129-34. 
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