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found at Skaill, Sandwick, Orkney

Postcard of Brooch.
© National Museums Scotland


This large silver penannular brooch was found at Skaill at Sandwick in Orkney, and is part of the largest Viking Age silver hoard found in Scotland. It was clearly meant for ostentatious display of wealth and status.

The brooch is missing its pin, and the hoop has been bent together so that the terminals now touch. The ball-shaped terminals and pinhead are plain, but the collars are decorated with incised geometric patterns. The pinhead is very worn.

Ten ball-type brooches were included in the Skaill hoard, together with fragments of others. This type of brooch was developed in Ireland in the 9th century, and became popular amongst Scandinavians.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-043-549-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.IL 2
Date: Deposited between 950 and 970
Material: Silver; large; extremities and head of pin shaped like thistle; engraved pattern on one side
Dimensions: 5.50" - 8.00" D
What: Brooch, penannular
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Sandwick, Skaill
Description: Viking silver penannular ring brooch with thistle-shaped extremities and pinhead and an engraved pattern on one side, from Skaill
  • Graham-Campbell, James. The Viking-age gold and silver of Scotland (AD 850-1100). Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland, 1995, pp. 34-48, 109. 
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