Penannular brooch of silver gilt

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found on St Ninian's Isle, Dunrossness, Shetland

Postcard of Penannular brooch of silver gilt.
© National Museums Scotland

Penannular brooch of silver gilt

This silver gilt penannular brooch was found in a hoard containing silver objects and part of a porpoise's jaw, buried on St Ninian's Isle at Dunrossness in Shetland sometime between 750 and 825. The hoard probably belonged to a Pictish chief.

The brooch has expanded triangular terminals and is covered with deep panels of interlace. It has three settings - one in the hoop and one in each terminal. Each setting is now empty. The brooch's pin is now in several pieces.

The St Ninian's Isle hoard contained precious metalwork which probably belonged to a Pictish chief. The valuable objects were buried for safekeeping, perhaps at a time of danger such as a Viking raid.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-001-164-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FC 284
Date: 8th century
Buried between 750 and 825
Material: Silver gilt; covered with deep panels of chip-carved interlace; triangular terminals have a round central inset with four ridges; triple panel in centre of hoop defined by higher border; corroded pin with chip-carved knots and head missing
Dimensions: 4.50" max D; hoop 1.25" W
What: Brooch, penannular
Where: Scotland, Shetland, St Ninian's Isle
Description: Penannular brooch of silver-gilt with panels of interlace, from St Ninian's Isle, Pictish, 8th century
  • Calder, Jenni. The wealth of a nation. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland and Glasgow: Richard Drew Publishing, 1989, p 158. 
  • Small, A., Thomas, C., & Wilson, D. M. St. Ninian's Isle and its Treasure. London: Oxford University Press,1973 
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