Kingston Brooch card

Kingston Brooch


On display

'Kingston Brooch' from Grave 205, a female burial. This is a composite brooch made of two plates of gold bounded together by a strip of beaded gold wire filigree the interior of which has been filled with a white clay like substrance and secured by three clasps of gold set close together across the filigree on the rim. The front plate is slightly convex and this is to ensure that the concentric pattern does not lose its perspective and individuality. The overall design is of modified crusiform pattern with a central boss. There are five concentric rings of gold cloisons among them there are step shaped, square, triangular and semicircular ones each soldered to each other and to the neighbours at their point of contact. The carpet effect of garnet and gold is therefore interrupted by the well spaced triangular and step shaped designs of blue glass and by the four square shells of a deep red garnet (one of the squares has lost its garnet ). There are a central and four satelitte bosses with a white shell-like material which originally had a waxy surface. On the back there is an animal head catch plate for the bronze pin and the drum like head of the pin and its surround are enriched with gold wire filigree. The head of the pin is also jewelled with garnets and there is a safety loop for securing the loop to the dress. The cloisons and the units of filigree are prescribed with precisions and consist of fine beaded gold wire soldered to a prepared ground of gold on which the outline of the pattern had already been raised. The twisted knot and the interlace pattern is a bold translation of the familiar Teutonic backward biting quadradep. The fine execution of the brooch marks the period of the wealth and political ascendancy of the Jutes under Aethilberht in the 7th century. The brooch has ancient repair on the rim, three gold clips fasten plates together. Some cells are missing. This is the largest known Anglo-Saxon composite brooch. The brooch was found in an unusually rich woman's grave , along with a circular gold pendant (M6231), a pair of silver safety-pin brooches (M6234 & M6235) and an iron chatelaine, a glass palm cup (M6228), two bronze pans, the smaller one inside the bigger one and a small brass trivet. In the same grave there were also remains of a wooden box with iron fittings, a coarse pottery vessel. The bones of a child were deposited to the feet of the woman's skeleton and may had been reburied with her.