Brooch (detail)

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found at Skaill, Sandwick, Orkney

Postcard of Brooch (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

Brooch (detail)

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 back of the terminal.

This side of the terminal is decorated with a deeply engraved interlaced animal design. The animal is seen in profile, with his head thrown back over the body, executed in a Scandinavian art style known as Mammen style.

Ball-type penannular brooches developed in Ireland, but were adopted by Viking settlers. Decoration, as on this example, reflected Scandinavian taste. They were probably made in a workshop situated around the Irish Sea, perhaps on the Isle of Man.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-043-552-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 5
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, 110-1. 
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