Viking 'Swastika' Hoard Group 019424

Viking 'Swastika' Hoard Group 019424
Viking / Anglo-Scandinavian 'Helmeted Head & Swastika Weight' Hoard Group
A unique oppertunity to obtain the majority of metal items from a hoard found in East Yorkshire, reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme and all returned to the finder except item (X). Reference: Portable Antiquities Scheme 2007 T226. Very fine condition. Provenance: found in East Yorkshire. The assemblage comprises:

(A) A gilt copper-alloy cast male head with a long face, drooping moustache and pointed beard; the helmet is represented by a three-band T-shaped element; two eagle-headed horns sprout from the sides of the crown; the eyes are cabochons of black glass. Anglo-Saxon, 7th century, similar to iconographic heads on the Sutton Hoo helmet, Caenby pressblech fragment and other 7th century metalwork from England and Scandinavia. The religious implications of the 'horned man' are still being investigated but seem to hinge on the position of the god Woden as supplier of inspiration and ecstasy. [not included in the sale].

(B) A Scandinavian barrel weight of roughly spherical form with flattened poles, made from an iron core covered with a copper-alloy outer casing. The upper flat surface is decorated with a punched beaded border within which is a beaded swastika or hooked cross with clubbed ends. The weight of the piece is equivalent to around 4 ortugar. 9th-11th century in date. The hooked cross decoration is an evocation of the turning of the heavens in the night sky.

(C) A Viking period (9th-11th century) weight comprising a lead bulb with embedded fragments of blue-green glass; this coloration is typical of early Anglo-Saxon glassware vessels such as clawbeakers and palm cups. The mass is equivalent to about 1.5 standard ortugar weight units.

(D) A Viking period weight comprising a lead bulb with a faux Northumbrian styca (9th century) embedded in the upper surface. The styca appears to be a casting taken from a genuine coin. The mass of the piece is under-weight for a standard ortug unit of 8.22 grams and probably represents a local variant.

(E) An Anglo-Saxon cast convex-sided strap end of 8th-9th century date, with a thick plain border enclosing a knotwork panel, perhaps a ring-chain motif. The terminal is a beast-head with ribbed muzzle and raised ears. Similar to finds from Suffolk using the binding motif found in Insular Style Anglo-Saxon art.

(F) An Anglo-Saxon convex-sided tag or strap end of 8th-9th century date, with a ribbed terminal knop. The plain border encloses a central knotwork design with sharply inturned loops. Similar to finds from Suffolk using the binding motif found in Insular Style Anglo-Saxon art.

(G) An Anglo-Scandinavian cast copper-alloy D-shaped buckle loop of 8th-10th century date with carinated section, ending in a beast-head at each end gripping the rear bar. The buckle is too small for a conventional belt and may have closed a pouch. The paired beast-heads recall the many examples of this motif from earlier Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian metalwork (e.g. pelta pendants, great square-headed brooches, etc.) where the animals are symbolic of protection for the wearer.

(H) An Anglo-Saxon cast copper-alloy finger ring bezel of 8th-9th century date, comprising the lozengiform bezel and about 10mm of the rectangular-section band. The bezel comprises a heavily billeted vertical band extending along the outer edges as a border, enclosing an opposed pair of triskele motifs with impressed dot texturing, similar in execution to the Chelsea ring and typical of Trewhiddle Style metalwork. The triskeles are formed as a continuous band, similar too the later Scandinavian valknut or 'dead man's knot'.

(I) An iron, round-section pin with a looped upper end. The lower end is rolled into a hook. The item may have served as an angling hook.

(J) The central roundel from an Anglo-Saxon penny, carefully trimmed to retain the portrait and the central expanding-arm small cross. The coin appears to be an issue of Edgar (959 - 975 AD) similar to the small-cross (BMC type IV) example struck at Derby by Osulf (ca.973-5) but, lacking the legend, it is not possible to be certain.

(X) A small D-section silver ingot. [retained by York Museum, not included in the sale]


This item is accompanied by an illustrated Certificate of Authenticity.

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