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Mould for making brooches

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Found at Brough of Birsay, Orkney

Mould for making brooches
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This is one half of a two-piece clay mould for the casting of a Pictish penannular brooch. Both halves were excavated at the Brough of Birsay in Orkney. The mould dates from between 700 and 800.

This half is for the back of the mould. It carries a plain pattern for the back of the brooch and negative keying. The brooch cast in this mould would have had animal symbols on its terminals, a typical feature of Pictish brooches of this period.

Early metalsmiths developed sophisticated casting techniques as time went on. Complex moulds of clay and stone produced intricate three dimensional objects. Here, the two-piece mould was closed, and molten metal poured into the channel at the top.

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