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from Langhills, Westerseat, Wick, Caithness

Postcard of Brooches.
© National Museums Scotland


These two brass oval brooches were found in a stone cist at the top of a mound at Langhills at Westerseat near Wick in Caithness. They are a type worn by Scandinavian women between 900 and 1000, and may be from a poorly recorded grave.

This picture shows the fronts of the brooches. Like many oval brooches of the period, these were made from two shells. The outermost, pictured here, was an openwork pattern with animal decoration and projecting knobs. The edges of the brooches are missing.

Until the tenth century, Viking women appear to have worn a shift. A pinafore was worn over this, held up by shoulder straps, often with oval brooches anchoring the straps on each shoulder. Unusually, these two brooches do not match.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-742-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 218
Date: 10th century
Between 900 and 1000
Material: Oval; bowl-shaped
Oval; bowl-shaped
What: Brooch
Where: Scotland, Caithness, Wick, Langhills
Scotland, Caithness, Wick, Langhills
Description: Oval tortoise brooch with faint textile remains around pin fastener, from Langhills, 10th century
Oval tortoise brooch from Langhills
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, p 68. 
  • 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 24-5. 
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