Anglo Saxon gold mount 'mystery' in Norfolk

  • Published
Sculthorpe gold mountImage source, Portable Antiquities Scheme
Image caption,
The triangular gold mount, found near Fakenham, is less that an inch in width and length

A "mystery" gold mount found in a Norfolk field has provided "another piece of the jigsaw" for historians looking for Anglo-Saxon settlements.

The item was found near Fakenham and is possibly from a sword grip, but experts say it has differences to similar finds.

Dr Andrew Rogerson, county archaeologist, said: "It's a fragment, but there's no context for it."

No evidence of dwellings has ever been found in the village.

Anglo-Saxons in East Anglia

6th Century

Kingdom of East Anglia formed (modern-day Norfolk and Suffolk)

  • AD624 King Raedwald, who is believed to have been buried at Sutton Hoo, died

  • AD869 King Edmund, later known as St Edmund, was killed by the Vikings

  • AD869-918 The kingdom becomes part of the larger Viking Danelaw

National Trust

The Portable Antiquities Scheme, which is in the process of valuing the item, said it was "similar to sword-grip mounts from the Sutton Hoo ship burial and the Staffordshire Hoard".

But because the mount, which dates back to the late 6th or early 7th Centuries, lacks "small perforations for attachment", its "precise function... is not clear".

The Norfolk coroner will hold an inquest in March to decide if it should be recorded as a treasure find.

'High status'

Dr Rogerson, who works at the county's Historic Environment Service in Gressenhall, said four other items, including a brooch and a belt mount, had been discovered in the area in recent years.

"The new mount may have come from a sword clasp, but it's a bit of a mystery," he said.

"This is a high-status item, not unlike pieces found at the Staffordshire Hoard, and it's another piece of the jigsaw as we slowly find out more about settlements across East Anglia.

"The chances of there not being people living there and working the land are remote, but there would need to be a huge survey looking for a settlement to fully understand the land-use in the area."

Image caption,
A timber recreation of an Anglo-Saxon settlement was built at West Stow in Suffolk in the 1970s

The mount was found by Barrie Plasom, 70, last year, during a charity search aimed at raising money from any finds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

He said: "I thought I'd found a bottle top, put it in my pocket and didn't bother looking at it again until later."

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