Anglo-Saxon hub cap brooch

Its time for this year's Festival of Archaeology series on Culture on Call. Today's subject: an Anglo-Saxon brooch found near our headquarters in the parish of Chilcomb!

10-11 century 'hub cap' brooch

This type of Anglo-Saxon brooch has been labelled ‘hub cap’ because of its shape, and dates to the 10th-11th century. The central polished and shaped dark blue stone may be glass or enamel and when seen in profile is quite large in proportion to the brooch.

The back of this brooch is just as interesting as the front due to the survival of the catch mechanism. It consists of a hinged pin loop and catch plate mechanism made of folded copper alloy sheet. The rivets which fix it to the brooch can be seen penetrating through to the front which suggests a repair, perhaps intended to prolong the life of the brooch. Normally on a brooch of this period and type the fittings would be integrally cast so as not to spoil the design on the front. This example was found in the parish of Chilcomb and was recently generously donated by the finder to Hampshire Cultural Trust.

Brooches in the Anglo-Saxon period, although decorative, would also have been functional and used to fasten items of clothing, such as cloaks.  Disc shaped brooches were very popular, some like the one above were heavily decorated with coloured glass or stones.  

The 6th- 7th century disc brooch below was found in Ampfield in 1980 and gifted to what was then Winchester Museums Service and can still be seen in Winchester City Museum.  The stone in the centre is actually modern and was added after a theft. Thankfully, the stone was retrieved but the decision was made to leave the new stone in.

6th-7th century disc brooch

Another type represented in the collections cared for by Hampshire Cultural Trust are button brooches. A common element of these is the stylistic anthropomorphic face-mask decoration. These date to the 5th-6th centuries and are prevalent in southern England. This example was found in Exton, Hampshire. Archaeologists love to classify objects and this is 'type Bi'.

Button brooch found in Exton

Look out for more Festival of Archeology posts this week!

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This article was written by:
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Ross Turle

I am the Curatorial Liaison Manager for Hampshire Cultural Trust. I help with the care of the collections held and enable access to the collections so as they can researched and exhibited.
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