Gilt copper-alloy mount (Grave 97)
online resourceposted on 27.10.2021, 15:32 by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Grave 97: Bronze mount, length 6.4cm. Originally this must have been in the form of an equal-armed cross, with semicircular terminals on the broken arms of the centre piece. The object was buried in damaged condition, since the breaks are old ones. The centre is thickly gilt and ornamented in chip-carved style with a debased and senseless Style I leg-pattern inside concentric grooves. The terminals are silver-plated and pierced by iron rivets. It is likely that this object, buried in a woman's grave apparently, was once one of the fittings of a shield (cf. Eastry shield fittings in similar style), kept perhaps as a keepsake by some servant.Tania Dickinson pers. comm: 'It is indeed another variant of the Style I cruciform strap-attachment in Bichrome Style that we listed in our note and which reappears in Chris's paper on equestrianism [Fern 2005]. In fact, it ties in very nicely with the other examples with legs in the central lozenge (Eriswell, Bishop's Cleeve); perhaps not surprisingly, it has well constructed legs with feet with bifurcated claw, one pointing forwards, the other curled backwards. This trait seems to develop (if my Style I analysis has any substance) from the feet on high-rectangular belt-plates and appears on shield apex discs (Sutton Hoo/Tranmer House 868), somesaucer brooches (Mitcham 208 and the leg-swastika type) and a composite lozengiform strap attachment (Wakerley 31). The C14 date for Eriswell is pulling them back into the early rather than middle 6th century. The iron rivets on Sarre 97 are presumably replacements, so burial was probably rather later.' – B.B.