Brooch (front)

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found at Skaill, Sandwick, Orkney

Postcard of Brooch (front).
© National Museums Scotland

Brooch (front)

This 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 hoard was buried between 950 and 970.

The brooch has slightly expanded terminals which have stamped decoration extending part of the way up the hoop. The non-matching pinhead, not originally designed for the brooch, has brambling on this side, and engraved decoration on the other.

The hoop of this brooch is a Scandinavian type of penannular brooch ring. It is heavily worn. The brambling decoration on the pinhead relates it to other thistle brooches in the hoard, made in workshops around the Irish Sea.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-043-553-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 6
Date: Deposited between 950 and 970
Material: With thistle-like pinhead
What: Brooch, penannular
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Sandwick, Skaill
Description: Penannular brooch with thistle-like pinhead, 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, 111. 
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