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Fragment of a silver penannular brooch

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found at Achavrole, Dunbeath, Caithness

Postcard of Fragment of a silver penannular brooch.
© National Museums Scotland

Fragment of a silver penannular brooch

This fragment of an 8th century silver gilt penannular brooch with amber settings was found at Achavrole at Dunbeath in Caithness. The brooch was apparently complete when buried but was damaged when discovered. No other parts now survive.

The fragment comprises one terminal and the lower arm of the brooch. It is decorated with panels of gold filigree set on trays of gold foil. In the centre panel is an interlaced beast, while on the arm is a serpent or fish.

The layout and decoration of the brooch place this brooch with other lavish examples current in 8th century Ireland and Scotland. In Scotland, however, the penannular brooches, with a gap between the terminals, were preferred.

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Online ID: 000-100-036-199-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 9
Date: Between 700 and 800
Material: Silver; with gold filigree work and amber settings
What: Brooch, penannular / portion
Where: Scotland, Caithness, Dunbeath, Achavrole
Description: Portion of a silver penannular brooch, ornamented with gold filigree work and amber settings, from Achavarole, Dunbeath, Caithness
  • Youngs, Susan (ed). 'The Work of Angels'. Masterpieces of Celtic metalwork, 6th-9th centuries AD. London: British Museums Publications Ltd, 1989, p 57. 
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