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from Clibberswick, Unst, Shetland

Postcard of Brooches.
© National Museums Scotland


These two brass oval brooches and a bronze trefoil brooch were found in a Scandinavian woman's grave at Clibberswick on Unst in Shetland, together with some glass beads and a plain silver arm-ring which are now lost.

The oval brooches are of a type manufactured in the 8th and 9th centuries. Both are worn, and one has been repaired. The decoration on the trefoil brooch is in the so-called Borre style, which seems to have developed in Scandinavia around the mid 9th century.

Oval brooches are a very distinctive form of ornament, worn by Viking women in pairs to fasten the straps of a pinafore. They were mass produced in Scandinavia and widely copied. The trefoil brooch was used to fasten a cloak or shawl.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-733-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 224
Date: 9th century
9th century
9th century
Between 850 and 900
Material: Bronze; trefoil shape
Oval; bowl-shaped; textile imprint on reverse
Oval; bowl-shaped; textile remains around pin
What: Brooch
Who: Lerwick Collection
Lerwick Collection
Lerwick Collection
Where: Scotland, Shetland, Unst, Haroldswick, Clibberswick
Scotland, Shetland, Unst, Haroldswick, Clibberswick
Scotland, Shetland, Unst, Haroldswick, Clibberswick
Description: Oval brooch with textile remains around pin, from Clibberswick, Shetland, 9th century
Oval brooch with textile imprint on reverse, from Clibberswick, Shetland, 9th century
Bronze trefoil brooch from Clibberswick, Shetland, 9th century
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, pp 64, 153-4. 
  • 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. 103-5. 
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