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from Westness, Rousay, Orkney

Postcard of Brooches.
© National Museums Scotland


These two brass oval brooches were found in a wealthy Norse woman's grave at Westness on Rousay in Orkney. She died in childbirth and was buried with a range of expensive objects. This picture shows the back of the brooches.

The brooches are concave at the back. The brooch on the left still preserves its iron pin. The brooch on the right has a fragment of its iron pin and the remains of two cloth loops. The textile impressions are quite clear on this one.

There was a wealthy Norse settlement at Westness. Excavations have uncovered graves containing a range of valuable objects, many, like this one, either imported from Scandinavia or carried over as a personal possession.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-749-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 729
Date: Between 850 and 900
Material: Bronze; tortoise brooches; type Rygh 649; a, with iron pin inside; b, lacking pin, c, part of iron pin from b, with remains of two cloth loops
Dimensions: 4.30" x 2.15"
What: Brooch
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Rousay, Westness
Description: Pair of bronze tortoise brooches, one with iron pin inside, the other lacking pin, with pin fragment with remains of two cloth loops, from Westness, Orkney
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, p 136. 
  • Ritchie, Anna. Viking Scotland London: B.T. Batsford Ltd/Historic Scotland, 1993, p 50.
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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