Brooch (front)

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found at Skaill, Sandwick, Orkney

Postcard of Brooch (front).
© National Museums Scotland

Brooch (front)

This large silver 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. This picture shows the front of the brooch.

The terminals are decorated on this side with a brambling pattern, which has led to this variant of the ball-type brooch being termed a thistle brooch. The collars have raised mouldings. The pinhead is plain.

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: 000-100-043-551-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 4
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, 110. 
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