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from Ospisdale, Sutherland

Postcard of Brooch.
© National Museums Scotland


This gilt brass oval brooch was found at Ospisdale in Sutherland. It is a type worn by Scandinavian women between 900 and 1000, and may be from a grave whose other contents were lost or not recovered. This is the most southern find of an oval brooch in Scotland.

Like many oval brooches of the period, it was made from two shells. The outer, openwork shell was decorated with twisted silver wire and raised knobs, some missing. It has been flattened on one side, destroying part of the outer shell.

Oval brooches are a very distinctive form of Viking ornament. Few are found after 1000, in part due to changing dress fashions and in part due to conversion to Christianity, which resulted in no grave goods buried with the body.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-751-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 377
Date: 10th century
Between 900 and 1000
Material: Oval
Where: Scotland, Sutherland, Ospisdale
Description: Oval Viking brooch with faint textile imprints on reverse, from Ospisdale, 10th century
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, pp 68, 146. 
  • 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 17-8. 
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