Penannular brooch of silver gilt

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found on St Ninian's Isle, Dunrossness, Shetland

Postcard of Penannular brooch of silver gilt.
© National Museums Scotland

Penannular brooch of silver gilt

This silver gilt penannular brooch was found in a hoard containing silver objects and part of a porpoise's jaw, buried on St Ninian's Isle at Dunrossness in Shetland sometime between 750 and 825. The hoard probably belonged to a Pictish chief.

Each terminal has three projecting ears and a similar field at the joint of the hoop and the terminal. The fields contain stylised bird heads facing inwards to a central disc. The head of the pin loops round the hoop in the form of a hook.

The St Ninian's Isle hoard contained 12 brooches, most of them silver gilt. They are all characteristically Pictish in form, yet each is individually crafted with differences in design and technique. All were objects worn to display status and wealth.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-036-436-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FC 287
Date: 8th century
Buried between 750 and 825
Material: Silver gilt; terminals with four lobes round a disc, stylised birds' heads facing inward in each lobe; tripartite panel in centre of hoop with three insets; pin covered with interlace except at tip
Dimensions: 3.08" D
What: Brooch, penannular
Where: Scotland, Shetland, St Ninian's Isle
Description: Penannular brooch of silver-gilt with stylised birds' heads and a glass inset, from St Ninian's Isle, Pictish, 8th century
  • Small, A., Thomas, C., & Wilson, D. M. St. Ninian's Isle and its Treasure. London: Oxford University Press,1973 
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