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Medieval Studies Anglo-Saxon Metalwork
by
Elizabeth Coatsworth

Introduction

Interest in the design and structure of objects of metalwork of the pre-Conquest period can already be seen in the pioneering work of Brian Faussett between 1769 and 1773, exemplified in his detailed drawings and notes on, for example, the Kingston Down brooch in his surviving notebooks, published long after his death (Charles Roach Smith, Inventorium Sepulchrale, an Account of Some Antiquities Dug Up at Gilton, Kingston, Sibertswold, Barfriston, Beakesbourne, Chartham, and Crundale, in the County of Kent, from 1757 to 1773, London: privately printed, 1856). Although Faussett did not recognize his excavated material as Anglo-Saxon, thinking that he was investigating Romano-British graves, nevertheless his work (especially in his detailed recording of all finds, and therefore all metalwork objects, including toilet implements, weapons, and tools, as well as the gold jewelry) is in many ways a true starting point for two trends still working themselves out in the literature: the refining of work defining styles and dating the material, and the study of the full range of metalwork and its associated crafts. It is true, however, that objects of fine metalwork have excited the greatest interest, encouraged by spectacular finds from early sites such as Sutton Hoo and of hoards such as that from Trewhiddle, Cornwall (see Specific Sites). More recently, the 7th-century “Staffordshire hoard,” with its collection of gold and jeweled fragments, many from weapons and armor, has reinforced interest in the spectacular and also in the emphasis on the early period. It is likely that as studies of this new material come out, the history of early Anglo-Saxon fine metalworking (and its design and iconography) will be rewritten, although this process is already well on its way, with the huge increase in numbers brought about by the popularity of metal detecting and the working of the Treasure Act 1996 and the development of the Portable Antiquities scheme (for a short explanation of these, see Leahy and Bland 2009, cited under Staffordshire Hoard). The bias toward fine metalwork is therefore reflected here: nevertheless, the overall story of scholarly work on Anglo-Saxon metalwork has actually been more balanced, with studies of ferrous metalworking and other humbler metals such as lead appearing from early in the 20th century, and with the archaeology of early settlements, middle Saxon estates, and later towns showing the importance of metalwork studies in social and economic development. Much of the best of recent work has looked at the context in which the metalwork was made: its makers and their role in society, and the techniques and technology involved (including documentary and literary as well as archaeological sources). Evidence of comparative material and sites from Scandinavia and western Europe, and from Celtic and Viking sites within Ireland and the British Isles, has often proved illuminating for contemporary Anglo-Saxon practice, and the study of Style in particular requires knowledge of Germanic and Viking Age styles. Arising from all this work, the meaning of metalwork objects within the developing society—whether as treasure, functional objects (e.g., dress fasteners, tools, or armor), personal adornment, signifiers of ethnicity or personal status, or carrying in its iconography some deeper meaning (e.g., relating to religious beliefs or royal power)—has come to be seen as of equal importance to dating.

General Overviews

There are very few works that can be classified as overviews of Anglo-Saxon metalwork, as distinct from surveys of Anglo-Saxon art more generally. One that provides such an overview, however, is Brown 1986, a dissertation (cited under Reference Works). There are some textbooks, however, such as Jessup 1950 and Leahy 2003, that also provide a broad introduction to the area. The best overviews published since the late 1990s are those contained within two encyclopedias. All relevant entries in the Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England (see Blackburn 1999a, Blackburn 1999b, Brown 1999a, Brown 1999b, and Dickinson 1999) still have something to contribute, in spite of the recent publication of the authoritative Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. This latter work includes a section on “Craft Production and Technology” (Thomas 2011), in which each subsection has material relevant to metalwork studies, and concludes with a useful bibliography. Some entries from this handbook, however, are represented under other sections of this bibliography (see Production, Techniques, and Tools and the Ideological Significance of “Treasure”). Other books, for example Wilson 1986, are more-general surveys of Anglo-Saxon art or archaeology but are useful in putting the metalwork (in these objects that are usually viewed as artistic rather than utilitarian) into the context of other media. See also Webster 2012 (cited under Style).

  • Blackburn, Mark A. S. “Mints and Minting.” In The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Edited by Michael Lapidge, John Blair, Simon Keynes, and Donald Scragg, 317–318. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999a.

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    Briefly discusses the evidence for mints and the changing politico-economic contexts in which mints developed. Also the relationship between these and sources of bullion. Minting processes are not touched on.

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  • Blackburn, Mark A. S. “Moneyers.” In The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Edited by Michael Lapidge, John Blair, Simon Keynes, and Donald Scragg, 324–325. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999b.

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    Discusses mainly late and post-Conquest evidence for the high status of moneyers.

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  • Brown, Kevin B. “Metalworking.” In The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Edited by Michael Lapidge, John Blair, Simon Keynes, and Donald Scragg, 309–310. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999a.

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    Recounts the main technological processes observable in the archaeological record and the surviving material; briefly introduces the related topics of itinerant specialists, permanent workshops, and domestic production.

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  • Brown, Kevin B. “Mining and Quarrying.” In The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Edited by Michael Lapidge, John Blair, Simon Keynes, and Donald Scragg, 315–317. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999b.

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    Notes that the areas of iron-ore extraction were the same from Roman times but that lead mining revived only in the 9th century, and that there is little evidence for extraction of other nonferrous metals, for which smiths relied on the recycling of scrap, including coins. Within the early medieval period, increasing specialization reflecting a change from domestic to workshop production is observable.

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  • Dickinson, Tania M. “Jewellery.” In The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Edited by Michael Lapidge, John Blair, Simon Keynes, and Donald Scragg, 258–262. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999.

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    A broad chronological survey of Anglo-Saxon jewelry types from the 5th to the 11th centuries, with some attention to societal and dress changes reflected in the forms. Supported by figures with drawings illustrating thirty-five items.

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  • Thomas, Gabor. “Overview: Craft Production and Technology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. Edited by Helena Hamerow, David A. Hinton, and Sally Crawford, 405–422. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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    Useful analysis of sources of evidence and their limitations, and a chronological survey tracing the move of production from the domestic level (with the production of nonutilitarian goods with meaning for personal and group identity) to a relatively small group of itinerant specialists, and then to a developing degree of craft specialization allied to increasing political centralization, and a shift from countryside to town.

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  • Wilson, David M. Anglo-Saxon Art from the Seventh Century to the Norman Conquest. London: Thames and Hudson, 1986.

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    A broad, handsomely illustrated, chronological overview of all aspects of Anglo-Saxon art, including jewelry and fine metalwork. Still of value because it places the metalwork in the wider art context. Originally published in 1984.

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Historiography

As noted in the Introduction and demonstrated throughout this article, the overarching term “metalwork” can be defined to include both ferrous and nonferrous metals and their working, the extraction and/or supply of metals, practitioners (goldsmiths, blacksmiths, moneyers, and miners), and the systems within which they worked. In addition, metalwork can be defined as art, functional, or a conveyor of status or other symbolism—or any or even most of these definitions can be excluded. Its study is multidisciplinary: art historians, historians (including economic historians), archaeologists, and numismatists are equally interested in it. Because related iconography, for example, can be found on coins or other art media as well as on fine metalwork, and so can make historical or geographical connections, the surviving material is a resource usable (and sometimes pillaged) by all, as may be seen in subsequent sections. Many studies of particular aspects or collections of metalwork, however, also reflect on criteria for dating (see, e.g., Wilson 1964, cited under Museum Catalogues). A study on the history of the various approaches, and the uses and possibly the misuses of the material, might be interesting, but, to date, none such exists, although Hinton 2005 comes closest. Hinton’s first four chapters cover the period between the departure of the Roman legions to the 11th century and, in effect, explore the development of pre-Conquest society through its remains, while also exploding some oversimplistic interpretations based on the discovery of, for example, imported objects or those usually associated with a different area of England from that where they were found. The method allows several developing discussions about, for example, changing ideas on the relationship between elite objects and diffusions of humbler copies indicative of the aspirations of the wider society. The introduction to Coatsworth and Pinder 2002 (cited under Reference Works) deals with evidence of scholarly interest in early technical literature and provides a brief overview of studies of Anglo-Saxon jewelry before 1978. Many of the items in the section on Iconography are also concerned with the contemporary meaning of individual objects; the subsection on the Ideological Significance of “Treasure” demonstrates an explosion of interest in this aspect since the late 1990s.

  • Hinton, David A. Gold and Gilt, Pots and Pins: Possessions and People in Medieval Britain. Medieval History and Archaeology. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    Aptly illustrated study of the whole medieval period. The author’s aim (p. 1) is to study the “ways in which people in medieval Britain represented themselves through surviving small artefacts, especially jewellery” (i.e., for their social and personal meaning) and to study other metalwork artifacts, including tools, when these reveal their significance to individuals—as, for example, when tools buried in a grave indicate the occupation of, or importance to, the deceased. See especially chapters 1–4.

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The Ideological Significance of “Treasure”

Several writers have tried to get to grips with the broader meaning of metalwork. Some, such as the author of Geake 1997, looked at metalwork among other grave goods in relation to their meaning in burial practice in the transitional period between paganism and Christianity. Most, however, have concentrated on fine metalwork—“treasure”—in Anglo-Saxon society. Such studies may include references to the iconography of individual objects, but the focus of concern is what they show about court life and/or power relations at a given period. One of the most influential works has been Hardt 1998, which placed the author’s study in the context of treasure in the thought of early medieval Europe generally. Hardt showed that in documentary sources the emphasis was always on gold, silver, precious stones, and clothing (in wills as well as in poetry), backed up by the survivals, including the importance given to imported silks and gold embroidery. He discussed the relevance of sources of actual treasure, given that little was produced from mining in home lands but was acquired instead through plunder, tribute, gift exchange, and eventually taxation, and noted the importance attached to the craftsmen who worked with the desired materials to make the jewelry and other items. He also showed how the drying up of easy sources of gold, and the gradual adoption of the Roman legal system, led to feudalization and the consequent dominance of a royal gift that could not be stored and carried in a chest—that is, land—thus showing how specific to our period is the particular attitude to treasure outlined here. Webster 2000, Webster 2011, and Carver 2000 are concerned with reading fine metalwork and particular deposits of the early Anglo-Saxon period as conveying style and meaning in the same way as literary works, while Webster 2003 suggests that a group of late-9th-century objects associated with Wessex and Alfred indicated an interest in exotic iconography, possibly arising from influence from the Frankish court.

  • Carver, Martin. “Burial as Poetry: The Context of Treasure in Anglo-Saxon Graves.” In Treasure in the Medieval West. Edited by Elizabeth M. Tyler, 25–48. Woodbridge, UK, and Rochester, NY: York Medieval Press, 2000.

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    Changing perceptions of the value of “buried treasure,” from later medieval times to the present, illustrate the difficulty of assessing the value of Sutton Hoo Mound 1 to the Anglo-Saxons. Concludes that “the meaning of a material culture varied with the place, time, environment and ideology in which it was expressed,” and that burial deposits have to be seen as deliberate statements like poems.

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  • Geake, Helen. The Use of Grave-Goods in Conversion-Period England, c. 600–c. 850. British Archaeological Reports 261. Oxford: John and Erica Hedges, 1997.

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    Surveys the full range of grave goods from the 7th and 8th centuries, including their cultural affiliations, concluding that they express a “pan-English neo-classical” identity based on Roman antecedents and that this must have been promoted in support of the existing hierarchies of church and state.

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  • Hardt, Matthias. “Royal Treasures and Representation in the Early Middle Ages.” In Strategies of Distinction: The Construction of Ethnic Communities, 300–800. Edited by Walter Pohl and Helmut Reimitz, 255–280. Transformation of the Roman World 2. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill, 1998.

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    An important study of what constituted treasure, as revealed in documentary sources and in archaeology, in, for example, the collection surviving from Sutton Hoo Mound 1. Hardt shows its importance in the pursuit of war aims, succession settlements at home, and marriage and alliance policies, in particular emphasizing the importance of royal treasure in the establishment of kingship.

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  • Webster, Leslie. “Ideal and Reality: Versions of Treasure in the Early Anglo-Saxon World.” In Treasure in the Medieval West. Edited by Elizabeth M. Tyler, 49–59. Woodbridge, UK, and Rochester, NY: York Medieval Press, 2000.

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    Supplies the late Roman and Germanic context to the dynastic and political statements she sees in the Sutton Hoo and Taplow treasure deposits, relating this to the re-creation of the past, in which treasure becomes virtual, a reference (p. 59) to “the mighty works of forebears, ancient treasure and ealde lafe of all kinds” in the poem Beowulf.

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  • Webster, Leslie. “Ædificia Nova: Treasures of Alfred’s Reign.” In Alfred the Great: Papers from the Eleventh-Centenary Conferences. Edited by Timothy Reuter, 79–103. Studies in Early Medieval Britain 3. Aldershot, UK, and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003.

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    Identifies (mainly) metalwork objects as related to the Trewhiddle find (see Specific Sites) in style and technique and as indicative of the court art of the royal house of Wessex, culminating in the art of Alfred’s court. The objects include the Æthelwulf and Æthelstan rings, the Fuller brooch, the Alfred jewel, three other book pointers (or small wands of office), a strap end from Cranborne in Dorset, and the Abingdon sword.

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  • Webster, Leslie. “Style: Influences, Chronology, and Meaning.” In The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. Edited by Helena Hamerow, David A. Hinton, and Sally Crawford, 460–502. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press: 2011.

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    Subtle analysis of style and meaning in Anglo-Saxon art, in support of Webster’s thesis that “certain recurring themes can be seen defining a broader Anglo-Saxon style . . . [including the fact that] . . . ordering perceptions of the world was central to Anglo-Saxon visual culture, manifested in highly stylized formulaic vocabularies, in the construction of elaborate frameworks, and in its abiding fondness for tricks and puzzles” (p. 461).

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Reference Works

General encyclopedias of the Middle Ages do not usually have much to say on Anglo-Saxon metalwork, even its jewelry. However, the two encyclopedias published so far on this period, already mentioned in General Overviews and also cited here as Lapidge, et al. 1999 and Hamerow, et al. 2011, both are impressive in their coverage. Brown 1986 also provides broad coverage, with many detailed references pertinent to ferrous metalworking as well as to jewelry. Coatsworth and Pinder 2002 is the only comprehensive guide to the field, covering documentary, literary, and archaeological sources and modern studies of structure and technology. Dodwell 1984 is a comprehensive introduction to the contemporary documentary sources for the subject area—serious students and researchers in the field continue to be indebted to it, and it has undoubtedly been the starting point for much subsequent research. Medieval Treatises on Metalworking are also essential background reading to the study of making but in this article have been given a section to themselves before a section on studies of production methods and techniques.

  • Brown, Kevin B. “The Development of Metalworking in England and in the North Sea Littoral from the Late Roman Iron Age to the Early Medieval Period.” DPhil diss., Oxford University, 1986.

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    A still-useful survey that put together most of the archaeological and other evidence, over an area wider than but including England, for ferrous and nonferrous metalworking, from the extraction of raw materials to production processes.

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  • Coatsworth, Elizabeth, and Michael Pinder. The Art of the Anglo-Saxon Goldsmith: Fine Metalwork in England; Its Practice and Practitioners. Anglo-Saxon Studies. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2002.

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    Analyzes the evidence for goldsmiths and every aspect of fine metalworking (including its relationship with ferrous metalworking), from commissioning and design (including iconography) to production and decorative techniques, citing individual objects as well as archaeological, documentary, literary, and visual sources from other parts of the contemporary world as well as England. Its bibliography was comprehensive to date of publication.

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  • Dodwell, Charles R. Anglo-Saxon Art: A New Perspective. Manchester Studies in the History of Art 3. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1984.

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    This groundbreaking book looks at the arts of the Anglo-Saxons, through surviving examples, visual sources, and written sources (poetry, homiletic literature, chronicles, saints’ lives, wills, charters, inventories). Covers textiles and painting as well as metalwork but devotes a whole chapter with lengthy notes to “Jewellery, Silver and Gold” (VII), while “Art Survivals and Written Sources” (I), “Anglo-Saxon Taste” (II), and “Artists and Craftsmen in Anglo-Saxon England” (III) are also relevant.

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  • Hamerow, Helena, David A. Hinton, and Sally Crawford, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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    An impressive collection of articles on all aspects of the archaeology of this period, it includes a section on “Craft Production and Technology,” which provides a useful resource for future research. See General Overviews, Production, Techniques, and Tools, and Iconography for individual entries from this book.

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  • Lapidge, Michael, John Blair, Simon Keynes, and Donald Scragg, eds. The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1999.

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    For entries on metalworking, jewelry, mints, moneyers, and mining, see General Overviews.

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Textbooks

Short introductions to specific subject areas that are suitable for undergraduate use have been selected here. Jessup 1950 was (and still is) a deservedly popular and still-cited introduction to the field of Anglo-Saxon jewelry, especially because it takes seriously the evidence of making. Leahy 2003 is excellent introduction to the topic indicated in its title, namely, Anglo-Saxon crafts. It includes a glossary of technical terms used and an up-to-date bibliography of the subjects covered, but no footnotes. Dodwell 1984 (cited under Reference Works) is still indispensable as an introduction to contemporary documentary sources and their value.

  • Jessup, Ronald F. Anglo-Saxon Jewellery. London: Faber and Faber, 1950.

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    Until Coatsworth and Pinder 2002 (cited under Reference Works), this popular survey was the only study, for long after its last republication, that tried to cover Anglo-Saxon jewelry as a subject in its own right. Jessup also tried to open up the subject by discussing materials and techniques, though without much on making processes.

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  • Leahy, Kevin. Anglo-Saxon Crafts. Stroud, UK: Tempus, 2003.

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    Three chapters (8–10) devoted to metalworking look at production from ore extraction or supply source, through making processes (and tools and techniques involved) to end products, briefly describing archaeological evidence for each during all periods of pre-Conquest England for which it is available. A final chapter is a useful, short summary titled “The Place of the Craftsman in Anglo-Saxon Society.” Well illustrated with black-and-white and color plates, as well as drawings.

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Bibliographies

There are at least two bibliographies that will be helpful to students and researchers in metalwork of this period: the British & Irish Archaeological Bibliography and the bibliography in the Old English Newsletter, both online. The latter annually publishes a researched list of all relevant publications in its area from the previous year, followed by, in the next year, the same list with as many citations reviewed as possible. Coatsworth and Pinder 2002 (cited under Reference Works) provides a fairly comprehensive bibliography of literature relevant to the subject, including its contemporary sources, to date of publication.

  • British & Irish Archaeological Bibliography.

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    A printed guide is published twice a year, but the website, known as “biab online,” provides bibliographic references for all aspects of archaeology and the historical environment, and every chronological period, with a geographical focus on Britain and Ireland from 1695 onward.

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    • Old English Newsletter.

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      Published for the Old English Division of the Modern Language Association of America since 1967, providing information on all aspects of Anglo-Saxon studies. Its annual Bibliography and Year’s Work in Old English Studies provides up-to-date information on all work in this area, including studies in metalwork. The online version provides access to its bibliography from 1973, and information on recent and forthcoming publications.

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    Journals

    Relevant publications appear in a wide variety of journals, especially archaeological; the following are chosen because they are particularly informative in our area or may be less well known, even to many academic readers. Medieval Archaeology is often the first scholarly journal with news of new finds, and its broad coverage of the medieval period provides useful context. Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History is more focused on the specific period and has published much new work on various aspects of metalwork studies. Archaeometry, Historical Metallurgy, Journal of Archaeological Science, and Jewellery Studies are the most frequently cited on technical and technological aspects of metalwork but may be less well known to the nonspecialist in these areas.

    Catalogues

    The period is well served by collections both from Exhibition Catalogues and Museum Catalogues.

    Exhibition Catalogues

    By their nature, these catalogues focus on portable objects. Exhibitions nearly always cover material from a wide range of media, in which metalwork may play a greater or a lesser part, but their inclusion, often alongside written and photographic contextual information, and nearly always with a related bibliography, helps to place metalwork in the wider context of its time, often providing a good starting point for further research. Two catalogues (Backhouse, et al. 1984; Webster and Backhouse 1991) cover, between them, the whole pre-Conquest period, though the earliest exhibition dealt with the latter part of the period; the second, with the earlier. Both are well illustrated, have useful bibliographies, and are organized along similar lines, with introductions either to a section or chapter or to a section within a chapter, as appropriate. In each, the major divisions are subdivided according to material or medium, although metalwork is sometimes put together with other materials, such as ivory and bone, wood, and textile. The entries are nicely detailed with a discussion of significant information relating to date, style/iconography, function, and social importance, as relevant. They are still-indispensable sources for the period. Graham-Campbell 1980, also of a British Museum exhibition, has a preponderance of metalwork objects of all types, and this, like Philpott 1990, which is an example of an exhibition concentrating on a particular find (in this case a hoard of Viking silver), is a useful source of comparative material. Cramp 1989 is an example of a relatively small exhibition that nevertheless placed its exhibits in a European context.

    • Backhouse, Janet, D. H. Turner, and Leslie Webster. The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art, 966–1066. London: British Museum Press, 1984.

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      Differs from Webster and Backhouse 1991 in its approach because it has only three major divisions, from “Part I: The Legacy of Alfred” through “Part II: The Golden Age” to “Part III: After the Conquest”—thus, apparently a chronological survey, but in fact privileging the defined period over its predecessor and its aftermath.

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    • Cramp, Rosemary. Anglo-Saxon Connections. Durham, UK: Dean and Chapter, Durham Cathedral, 1989.

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      A small exhibition, but one that looked at the connections of the Anglo-Saxon world—to Roman Britain, to Germanic Europe and Christian Rome, and through marriage and diplomacy, warfare and alliances, workshops and craftsmen, and pilgrimage—largely through its metalwork, including some evidence of making: clay molds and “motif pieces” were also exhibited. The exhibition brought together a notable collection of metalwork, of copper alloy as well as gold and silver.

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    • Graham-Campbell, James. Viking Artefacts: A Select Catalogue. London: British Museum Publications, 1980.

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      Exhibition of artifacts from across the Viking world. The catalogue selected from the exhibits but added items too large or fragile to display, as well as some comparative material. Metalwork either for practical use or for adornment appears in every section: “Daily Life,” “Dress and Adornment,” “Weapons,” “Transport,” “Loot and Trade,” “Coins and Currency,” “Crafts,” “Viking Art,” and “Religion.” Fully illustrated, mainly black-and-white photographs, with some reconstruction drawings. A mine of information.

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    • Philpott, Fiona A. A Silver Saga: Viking Treasure from the North West. Edited by James Graham-Campbell. Liverpool, UK: National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, 1990.

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      Catalogue of an exhibition commemorating the discovery of a hoard of Viking silver from Cuerdale, Lancashire, held in the Liverpool Museum. The exhibits are listed only briefly at the end, under place of discovery or current location (pp. 67–86). The previous pages provide brief introductions to the hoard and its historical context.

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    • Webster, Leslie, and Janet Backhouse, eds. The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture, AD 600–900. London: British Museum Press, 1991.

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      Divided into seven sections: “Pagan into Christian,” “The Developing State,” “The New Learning,” “The Church in Northumbria,” “England and the Continent,” “The Mercian Supremacy,” and “The Age of Alfred”—therefore, organized partly by chronology, but in fact thematic, reflecting a change in scholarly preoccupations between the date of its publication and its sister’s (Backhouse, et al. 1984).

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    Museum Catalogues

    Some museums have all or part of their collections online, but many do not. Of those that do, the most influential, not only because of the extent and importance of their collections but also because of the issues raised in their discussion of the material in the associated catalogues, are the British Museum in London and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford; Wilson 1964, Hinton 1974, and MacGregor and Bolick 1993 are specific catalogues from these two repositories. The catalogues have been selected as research resources in their own right. All include all known contextual information (of discovery, technology, etc.) known at the time of the study, and, where relevant, the distinguished authors provide or are assisted by colleagues in providing new studies of iconographical content and the relationships opened up by such studies. The Liverpool Museum houses an important collection of primarily Kentish material but is not catalogued online or in print.

    • Ashmolean Museum: Anglo-Saxon Period (AD 410–AD 1066).

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      A guide to the collections in the Ashmolean Museum, with select objects illustrated and briefly described.

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    • British Museum.

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      A searchable database of all the collections in the British Museum—and that collection has been added to since the publication of Wilson 1964, which also did not include material earlier than 700 CE.

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      • Hinton, David A. A Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork, 700–1100 in the Department of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum. Oxford: Clarendon, 1974.

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        A detailed study of the fine metalwork in the museum collection, including the Alfred and Minster Lovell jewels, the Abingdon sword, and several important rings with royal connections. Forty objects in all are studied in detail, including much technical information and the art and archaeological context, well illustrated with detail drawings and photographs.

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      • Liverpool Museum: Anglo-Saxon Collection.

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        The museum, now called World Museum on the Liverpool National Museums website, houses the Joseph Mayer collection, a large collection of Anglo-Saxon items, mainly metalwork. The bulk were acquired from the collections of Bryan Faussett and William Rolfe, 18th- and 19th-century antiquarians, respectively, all from Kent; the star item (and the only one illustrated on the website) is the Kingston brooch.

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      • MacGregor, Arthur, and Ellen Bolick. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford: A Summary Catalogue of the Anglo-Saxon Collections (Non-ferrous Metals). British Archaeological Reports British Series 230. Oxford: Tempus Reparatum, 1993.

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        Complements, and provides a context for, Hinton 1974. Divided into sections on the basis of typology, starting with brooches and followed by every other type of jewelry and fastener, toilet implements, sword fittings, and everyday items. Includes a topographical index, with summary archaeological information, and a contribution (by Catherine Mortimer) on the chemical composition of the brooches. Each section has a short introduction on the structure, date, and find contexts of the following objects.

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      • Wilson, David M. Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork, 700–1100, in the British Museum. Catalogue of Antiquities of the Later Saxon Period. London: British Museum Publications, 1964.

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        Covers the importance of the collection, the art of the metalworker (mainly dating and the broad chronological sequence), a typological classification, inscriptions (by R. I. Page), iconography of the Fuller brooch (by R. L. S. Bruce-Mitford), and a hand list of ornamental metalwork in other collections. The catalogue of 155 objects, listed alphabetically by place, includes a full discussion of each object. Well illustrated by photographs, with drawings of ornamental detail or structure.

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      Medieval Treatises on Metalworking

      Perhaps surprisingly, in view of the few known texts, this area has received some attention by art historians as well as researchers in early technology. All serious studies of structure and making processes, especially those involving replication, have used this material. Merrifield 1999 (first published in 1849) is an early attempt to publish medieval and later writing on technical aspects of the arts—primarily painting, but other related techniques are also included. A number of manuscripts and fragments were published in the 1920s and 1930s, the titles of the publications or of the journals in which they appeared indicating that the interest was primarily in the evidence for the technology (Burnam 1920, Caley 1926, Caley 1927, Hedfors 1932). The full publication of the major manuscripts—the treatise of Theophilus and that known as the Mappae Clavicula—came more recently, but both look at the relationship with other treatises and fragments and also give some consideration as to whether or how these reflected actual working practices (Dodwell 1961, Hawthorne and Smith 1976, Smith and Hawthorne 1974).

      • Burnam, John M. A Classical Technology: Edited from Codex Lucensis 490. Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1920.

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        One of several studies of this late-8th- or early-9th-century text. See Hedfors 1932.

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      • Caley, Earle Radcliffe. “The Leyden Papyrus X: An English Translation with Brief Notes.” Journal of Chemical Education 3.10 (October 1926): 1149–1166.

        DOI: 10.1021/ed003p1149Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Recipes for technical materials and processes that in origin go back to Assyrian practices of the second millennium BCE, preserved on Egyptian papyri of the 3rd century CE. It also contains one recipe taken from the Greek writer Dioscorides, who was a near contemporary of Pliny. The recipes include some for alloys, not all of which are practical. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      • Caley, Earle Radcliffe. “The Stockholm Papyrus: An English Translation with Brief Notes.” Journal of Chemical Education 4.8 (August 1927): 979–1002.

        DOI: 10.1021/ed004p979Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Recipes for technical materials and processes that in origin go back to Assyrian practices of the second millennium BCE, preserved on Egyptian papyri of the 3rd century CE. The recipes include some for alloys, not all of which are practical. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      • Dodwell, Charles R., ed. and trans. Theophilus, De Diversis Artibus: The Various Arts . . . . Medieval Classics. London and Edinburgh: T. Nelson, 1961.

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        The first to be clearly a workshop manual, written by Theophilus Presbyter in the late 11th to early 12th centuries, although with some unrealistic ingredients and processes. Clearly written from personal experience, and explicit both about tools and processes. Important because it belongs to a period in which tools and processes practiced in earlier centuries were still in use. It covers painting and work in glass as well as metalwork, and it is clear that that many techniques, processes, and materials were shared between these arts.

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      • Hawthorne, John G., and Cyril S. Smith, eds. and trans. On Divers Arts: The Treatise of Theophilus. Midway Reprints. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1976.

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        See Dodwell 1961. Both editions are valuable in their slightly differing translations and the preoccupations of the editors. First published in 1963.

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      • Hedfors, Hjalmar, ed. and trans. Compositiones ad tingenda musiva . . . . Uppsala, Sweden: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1932.

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        An edition of a manuscript (Lucca, Biblioteca Capitolare, Codex Lucensis 490) and known either as Compositiones ad tingenda musiva or Compositiones Variae, dated to between 787 and 816. It contains recipes for alloys as well as sets of instructions, such as for making gold leaf. It has one recipe believed to have been translated into Latin directly from the Leiden papyrus (see Caley 1926).

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      • Merrifield, Mary P. Medieval and Renaissance Treatises on the Arts of Painting: Original Texts with Translations. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1999.

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        Pages 166–257 of this compilation, which was first published in 1849, is a treatise ascribed to Heraclius or Eraclius: De Coloris et Artibus Romanorum. The first two books of this three-book work are now thought to date from the 10th century. In general it is concerned with painting, but topics relevant to goldsmiths are included, such as gem cutting and gilding.

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      • Smith, Cyril S., and John G. Hawthorne. Mappae Clavicula: A Little Key to the World of Medieval Techniques. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society n.s. 64.4. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1974.

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        Important early medieval treatise, including many recipes similar to those in the Lucca Manuscript (Hedfors 1932), but with more-technical information. The earliest surviving manuscript dates from the 9th century. This edition is based on the most comprehensive manuscript, from 12th-century Germany. Not clear whether a craftsman’s manual, or a source of Latin vocabulary: it provides recipes for some goldsmithing techniques, but limited descriptions of processes, and rare mentions of tools.

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      Specific Sites

      Many studies of metalwork finds concentrate on specific sites. The best of these, however, relate the hoard or the finds from an archaeological excavation to the wider historical and artistic context. Graham-Campbell 1992 is an anthology of papers, all by distinguished scholars in various fields, relating the hoard from Cuerdale, Lancashire (see Exhibition Catalogues) to such a wider context. No such exemplary interdisciplinary study of an Anglo-Saxon hoard exists as yet, although see the Staffordshire Hoard. Among those works selected here, Bailey 1974 brings together objects from the environs of a monastic site important from the 7th century, and Hall, et al. 1999 is an interdisciplinary study of a single object from a similarly important site (both founded by St. Wilfrid in the 7th century). Jones 1991 and Hinton 1996 are examples of specialist reports on archaeological sites of considerable importance: one beginning as an early Anglo-Saxon settlement; the other, an early example of urban development. Wilson and Blunt 1961 is important for its identification and dating of a style of Anglo-Saxon objects, which was much used subsequently in dating of pieces from other sites.

      • Bailey, R. N. “The Anglo-Saxon Metalwork at Hexham.” In Saint Wilfrid at Hexham. Edited by David P. Kirby, 141–167. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Orile, 1974.

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        Discusses four metalwork objects found at or near Hexham—a bucket, Northumbrian of 7th–8th-century date; a gilded copper-alloy chalice, probably 11th century; a silver plaque with haloed figure (a shrine or altar mount), possibly 7th century; and a gold ring in the 9th-century Trewhiddle style.

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      • Graham-Campbell, James, ed. Viking Treasure from the North West: The Cuerdale Hoard in Its Context; Selected Papers from the Vikings of the Irish Sea Conference, Liverpool, 18–20 May 1990. National Museums & Galleries of Merseyside Occasional Papers 5. Liverpool, UK: National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside, 1992.

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        An important collection of papers, including on the hoard and its parallels (J. Graham-Campbell), coin evidence (M. M. Archibald), the local and period context (N. Higham), place names (G. Fellows-Jensen), archaeological evidence for Vikings in the North West (B. J. N. Edwards), the coastal trading ports of the Irish Sea (D. Griffiths), metallurgical evidence of silver sources in the Irish Sea Province (S. E. Kruse), and monetary economy (D. M. Metcalf).

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      • Hall, Richard A., Erica Paterson, Catherine Mortimer, and Niamh Whitfield. “The Ripon Jewel.” In Northumbria’s Golden Age. Edited by Jane Hawkes and Susan Mills, 268–280. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 1999.

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        Analysis of a 7th-century gold, garnet, and amber cloisonné roundel, probably a mount from a book cover, reliquary, or cross, found in 1974.

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      • Hinton, David A. The Gold, Silver and Other Non-ferrous Alloy Objects from Hamwic, and the Non-ferrous Metalworking Evidence. Southampton Finds 2. Stroud, UK: Alan Sutton, 1996.

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        Finds from Southampton showed that gold was available for gilding and for the thin, twisted strip used in embroidery. Evidence for the melting of silver was found at five sites within 8th-century Hamwic.

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      • Jones, M. U. “Metallurgical Finds from a Multi-period Settlement at Mucking, Essex.” In Aspects of Early Metallurgy. 2d ed. Edited by W. Andrew Oddy, 117–120. British Museum Occasional Papers 17. London: British Museum Publications, 1991.

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        A brief account of the finds indicative of metalworking from this site, including, from the Anglo-Saxon period, slags, crucible sherds, and a two-piece clay mold. Originally published in 1980.

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      • Wilson, David M., and C. E. Blunt. “The Trewhiddle Hoard.” Archaeologia 98 (January 1961): 75–122.

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        Major study of the hoard found in Cornwall in 1774, including a scourge, chalice, pin, strap ends, and mounts, plus coins dating it to the late 9th century. Gave its name to a style of silverwork of this date, in which silver inlaid with niello, including lively figural, zoomorphic, plant, and interlace ornament set in small fields, are characteristic features. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      Durham

      The finds from the grave of St. Cuthbert at Durham have attracted considerable attention: two of those noted here (in Bruce-Mitford 1956 and Coatsworth 1989) are from anthologies of papers on the find and its significance. St. Cuthbert was first buried on the island of Lindisfarne in 687, but his coffin was moved several times in the course of the centuries, coming to rest in Durham in 995, though in 1100 it was translated into the new Norman cathedral and was subject to reburial after the destruction of his shrine during the Reformation. The grave was, however, again reopened in 1827, at which date the body of the saint was again reburied, and the contents, which represented a small proportion of those given to the saint over the centuries, including wood textiles and metalwork objects datable to the pre-Conquest period, were displayed and finally, in the 20th century, subjected to several periods of detailed study and analysis. Although many items were lost at the Reformation, what survived was a partial snapshot of the latest stage of the shrine, demonstrating the manner in which such shrines were never frozen in time but continued to attract donations. The cross of St. Cuthbert has been much written about; the shrine less so. Kendrick 1937 recognizes the similarities to two crosses from the south of England (Suffolk and Norfolk) but dates them too early: the major studies of garnet and gold cloisonné work and the finds from Sutton Hoo all postdate the author’s study. Bruce-Mitford 1956 is the first modern, detailed study of the cross as an artifact (supported by some technical analyses within the same volume) and was able to relate the cross to the important series of disk and composite brooches. Coatsworth 1989 looked in detail at the structure and method of design both of the cross and the altar, showing that both had been altered over the period of use and also relating both to their meaning to contemporary viewers and users.

      • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert L. S. “The Pectoral Cross.” In The Relics of Saint Cuthbert. Edited by Christopher F. Battiscombe, 308–325. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956.

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        Strongly argues for southern English parallels and made special note of the center of the cross as such an exact parallel of the central settings of some disk and composite brooches that it could have been cut down from such a source and reused.

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      • Coatsworth, Elizabeth. “The Pectoral Cross and the Portable Altar from the Tomb of St. Cuthbert.” In St. Cuthbert, His Cult and His Community to AD 1200. Edited by Gerald Bonner, David W. Rollason, and Clare Stancliffe, 287–302. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1989.

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        The cross is discussed in detail, including its history, then-current condition, parallels with other garnet cloisonné crosses, significance of design to contemporary viewers, and similarity to a method of design using compass drawing, paralleled in the Lindisfarne Gospels. The portable altar is shown to be a composite piece made in three stages from the 7th to the 9th centuries, showing charges in influence and a continuance of use of a venerated object.

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      • Kendrick, Thomas D. “St. Cuthbert’s Pectoral Cross, and the Wilton and Ixworth Crosses.” Antiquaries Journal 17.3 (July 1937): 283–293.

        DOI: 10.1017/S0003581500010817Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        The cross is discussed in relation to the two crosses from Norfolk and Suffolk. Kendrick believed the Cuthbert cross was so unlike the Kentish gold and garnet jewelry of the time that it must have been very early and made in Strathclyde in the 5th century, a conclusion that has not been accepted. Written before the game-changing discovery of the finds at Sutton Hoo. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      Staffordshire Hoard

      The hoard, consisting of more than 3,500 high-quality items of gold and silver, many with cloisonné garnets, mainly military trappings, was first discovered by a metal detector in July 2009, in a field near the village of Hammerwich, near Lichfield, Staffordshire (and therefore within the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia). The date range is 7th to 8th century, and speculation as to the reasons for the deposit continues. The find is subject to a program of conservation and research, which will continue for some years. Leahy and Bland 2009 was an admirably speedy response in acknowledgment of the importance of the find and level of public interest, as was the prompt setting up of the official website (Staffordshire Hoard). Papers from the Staffordshire Hoard Symposium were given at a seminar held in 2010.

      Sutton Hoo

      The discovery of the ship burial in Mound 1 at Sutton Hoo marked the beginning of a complete change in the perception and understanding of early Anglo-Saxon England, and particularly its metalwork, even though the excavation had to be completed hurriedly at the outbreak of World War II, and its definitive publication in three volumes was not completed until 1983. Taken together, Bruce-Mitford 1978 and Bruce-Mitford 1983 represent exemplary studies of every type of metalwork—military, domestic, and decorative, as well as contemporary, inherited, and imported—with both technical and contextual discussion. However, later excavations revealed an ever more complex story of a high-status graveyard before the (eventually) two discovered ship burials, and of its subsequent decline. Carver and Evans 2005 brings important finds of metalwork up to the date of publication.

      • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert L. S. The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial. Vol. 2, Arms, Armour and Regalia. London: British Museum Publications, 1978.

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        The significance of some of the objects has since been reinterpreted, but this is still the definitive account of the shield, helmet, mail coat, spears and angons, sword, scepter, iron stand, and gold jewelry from this major find. With a wealth of technical information and the results of scientific analyses and much comparative material, and very generously illustrated.

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      • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert L. S. The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial. Vol. 3, Late Roman and Byzantine Silver, Hanging-Bowls, Drinking Vessels, Cauldrons and Other Containers, Textiles, the Lyre, Pottery Bottle and Other Items. Edited by Angela Care Evans. London: British Museum Publications, 1983.

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        A full description of the metalwork not included in Volume 2, including the Byzantine silver and the hanging bowls, metal fittings for drinking vessels, bronze cauldrons, chainwork, the tub and buckets, the Coptic bowl, buckles, strap ends and related objects, the ax-hammer, and the iron lamp, with a final chapter by M. Bimson and W. Andrew Oddy on the technology of the glass and copper alloys.

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      • Carver, Martin O. H., and Angela Care Evans. Sutton Hoo: A Seventh-Century Princely Burial Ground and Its Context. Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London 69. London: British Museum Press, 2005.

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        This is the culmination of the research program based on excavation and surveys between 1983 and 2001, which attempted to put into context the well-known ship burial in Mound 1. Well illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs, drawings of many artifacts, and a number of interpretative reconstruction drawings, for example of the bridle of a horse. Covers all finds of metalwork from these excavations.

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      Winchester

      The summation of the study of the development of this major urban (and royal) site through its material culture is in Biddle 1990. Although this covers a period that continues post-1100, the papers mentioned here have much to say about pre-Conquest fine metalwork and its production. Hinton 1990 and Lasko 1990 look at specific finds, while Barclay and Biddle 1990a, Barclay and Biddle 1990b, and Bayley 1990 are concerned with evidence for production. Oddy and Tylecote 1990 discusses the evidence for testing the quality of gold, showing the importance of the precious metal at this major site.

      • Barclay, Katherine, and Martin Biddle. “Gold Working, 1: Archaeological Evidence.” In Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester. Vol. 2i, Artefacts from Medieval Winchester. Edited by Martin Biddle, 75–76. Winchester Studies 7. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990a.

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        A 9th-century stone building is identified, tentatively as a precious-metal workshop.

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      • Barclay, Katherine, and Martin Biddle. “Silver Working, 1: Archaeological Evidence.” In Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester. Vol. 2i, Artefacts from Medieval Winchester. Edited by Martin Biddle, 85. Winchester Studies 7. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990b.

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        Evidence of traces relating to silverworking from this site; see also Lasko 1990.

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      • Bayley, Justine. “The Crucibles, Heating Trays, Parting Sherds and Related Material.” In Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester. Vol. 2i, Artefacts from Medieval Winchester. Edited by Martin Biddle, 175–197. Winchester Studies 7. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.

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        An account of the cupels (heating trays—to melt the metal in the refining process) and other vessels relating to precious-metal working from this site, including fragments of parting vessels (used to separate a mixture of silver and gold for future use).

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      • Biddle, Martin. Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester. Vol. 2, Artefacts from Medieval Winchester. Winchester Studies 7. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.

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        Volume 2i provides studies of all finds from the Winchester excavations, emphasizing manufacturing processes and tools. Nonferrous and ferrous metalworking is considered in chapters 1–7. In addition, there are chapters on lead, tin, and pewter working (pp. 87–96); copper-alloy working (pp. 97–134), iron working (pp. 135–164); and metalworking equipment (pp. 167–199). Volume 2ii is a catalogue of the finds classified according to function, so metalwork is to be found throughout.

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      • Hinton, David A. “The Medieval Gold, Silver and Copper-Alloy Objects from Winchester.” In Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester. Vol. 2i, Artefacts from Medieval Winchester. Edited by Martin Biddle, 29–35. Winchester Studies 7. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.

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        Account of the finds illustrative of the court and church art of this important site from the 9th to the 11th century, including a Trewhiddle-style strap end; hooked tags in silver and niello or copper alloy; a strap end and buckle with plant ornament; a silver-gilt belt mount and strap end with animal ornament, one in the Jellinge style; and a copper alloy disk, with the Agnus Dei, comparable to coins of King Alfred.

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      • Lasko, Peter. “Silver-Gilt Head.” In Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester. Vol. 2ii, Artefacts from Medieval Winchester. Edited by Martin Biddle, 761–762. Winchester Studies 7. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.

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        Describes the head as embossed, but Coatsworth and Pinder 2002 (cited under Reference Works) also suggests the possibility of hollow casting. Either way, it is amazing work at a small scale.

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      • Oddy, W. Andrew, and Ronald F. Tylecote. “Gold Working, 2: Objects Associated with Gold Working.” In Object and Economy in Medieval Winchester. Vol. 2i, Artefacts from Medieval Winchester. Edited by Martin Biddle, 76–78. Winchester Studies 7. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.

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        Touchstones, important for testing the quality of gold, were found at this site.

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      York

      York was another major urban center, also both a royal and major ecclesiastical center, with a long pre-Conquest history covering periods of Anglian and Anglo-Scandinavian occupation up to the end of the period. Ottaway 1992 takes a detailed look at tools and production evidence for ironwork in the later part of the period, while Rogers 1993 looks at evidence of metalworking and craft production both from the Anglian and later periods. Tweddle 1992 is a study of an exceptional object of the Anglian period, combining both ferrous and nonferrous elements; this book is interesting for its contribution to the study of animal ornament on military equipment and is an addition to the corpus of inscriptions on metalwork.

      • Ottaway, Patrick. Anglo-Scandinavian Ironwork from 16–22 Coppergate. Archaeology of York 17.6. London: Council for British Archaeology, 1992.

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        Describes nearly five thousand iron objects dating from c. 400 to the late 11th century, including knives and tools for various crafts, fittings for doors and furniture, personal objects such as buckles, and items of weaponry. Also found were smiths’ tools, iron blanks, and scrap as evidence of on-site production.

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      • Rogers, Nicola S. H. Anglian and Other Finds from 46–54 Fishergate. Archaeology of York 17.9. London: Council for British Archaeology, 1993.

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        Both the Anglian period (pre-770 to mid-9th century) and the 11th- to 12th-century occupation provided evidence for craft working on this York site. The Anglian period certainly produced evidence for ferrous and nonferrous metalworking.

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      • Tweddle, Dominic. The Anglian Helmet from 16–22 Coppergate. Archaeology of York 17.8. London: Council for British Archaeology, 1992.

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        The definitive study of a helmet of the last quarter of the 8th century, made of iron and brass and decorated with animal ornament and a Christian inscription in Latin. The study is important for its attention to the construction of the helmet, including the mail curtain, which protected the neck of the wearer, as well as for an analysis of its decoration.

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      Production, Techniques, and Tools

      Evidence for metalworking arises from surviving products and from archaeology, but this evidence falls into several categories. Leahy 2011 provides an overview here.

      • Leahy, Kevin. “Anglo-Saxon Crafts.” In The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. Edited by Helena Hamerow, David A. Hinton, and Sally Crawford, 440–459. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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        Briefly surveys the evidence for specific crafts, including ironworking, nonferrous metalworking, and the decoration of metal objects.

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      Workshops

      The evidence for workshops arises mainly from archaeology, although often there is not a complete set of evidence, which would include buildings as well as examples of tools, hearths, and utensils. Examples here include sites identified as workshops, including a smelting site (Haslam 1980), a survey of existing knowledge (Bayley 1993), an Anglo-Saxon estate center with workshop evidence (Fairbrother 1990), three important comparative sites from Ireland and Scotland (Bradley 1993, Campbell and Lane 1993—this also with strong Northumbrian connections, Swindells and Laing 1991), and a documentary source of a workshop from the plan of an ideal Carolingian monastery (Horn and Born 1979). Other sites with working areas, such as Winchester and York, will be found in Specific Sites.

      • Bayley, Justine. “Precious Metal Working in Anglo-Saxon England.” In Outils et ateliers d’orfèvres des temps anciens: Colloque, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Musée des Antiquités Nationales, 17–19 janvier 1991. Edited by Christiane Eluère, 137–140. Antiquités Nationales, Mémoire 2. Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France: Société des Amis du Musée des Antiquités Nationales, 1993.

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        A useful summary of knowledge about this material as of 1993, including a map of seventeen sites with evidence of silverworking.

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      • Bradley, John. “Moynagh Lough: An Insular Workshop of the Second or Third Quarter of the Eighth Century.” In The Age of Migrating Ideas: Early Medieval Art in Northern Britain and Ireland; Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Insular Art Held in the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh, 3–6 January 1991. Edited by R. Michael Spearman and John Higgitt, 74–81. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland, 1993.

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        The workshop included an apparently outdoor heating area associated with postholes, in no regular pattern, possibly representing a shelter or windbreak.

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      • Campbell, Ewan, and Alan Lane. “Celtic and German Interaction in Dalriada: The Seventh-Century Metalworking Site at Dunadd.” In The Age of Migrating Ideas: Early Medieval Art in Northern Britain and Ireland; Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Insular Art Held in the National Museums of Scotland in Edinburgh, 3–6 January 1991. Edited by R. Michael Spearman and John Higgitt, 52–63. Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland, 1993.

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        This site produced evidence for metalworking on an industrial scale, dated to the 7th century, with crucibles, more than nine hundred mold fragments, a possible anvilstone, dividers or shears, and hematite, which could have been used for polishing. Objects and molds with design showing strong Northumbrian connections were found at this site.

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      • Fairbrother, Jon R. Faccombe Netherton: Excavations of a Saxon and Medieval Manorial Complex. British Museum Occasional Papers 74. London: British Museum, 1990.

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        A major study of a 10th-century estate center that included evidence for on-site metalworking. As at Moynagh Lough in Ireland and other sites, there was evidence for heating areas outside buildings, some associated with copper alloy waste, but there was also a complex of hearths within a building, two of which still had remains of crucibles and one of which still contained small globules of gold.

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      • Haslam, Jeremy. “A Middle Saxon Iron Smelting Site at Ramsbury, Wiltshire.” Medieval Archaeology 24 (1980): 1–68.

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        A probable royal site with considerable evidence for ironworking, including furnaces for smelting and evidence for the making of iron tools. Tools found at the site include tongs. The level of working seems higher than needed for merely local distribution. Includes “Iron Finds” by Vera I. Evison, pp. 35–39. Available online.

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      • Horn, Walter W., and Ernest Born. The Plan of St. Gall: A Study of the Architecture & Economy of, & Life in, a Paradigmatic Carolingian Monastery. 3 vols. California Studies in the History of Art 19. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.

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        Study of a 9th-century plan of an ideal monastery, probably from the monastery of Reichenau. Interesting because of its placing of goldsmiths’ workshops next to but separate from blacksmiths’ workshops, and similarities to a goldsmith’s working area described by Theophilus, a 12th-century monk of Reichenau. Useful in studies of working areas of early medieval goldsmiths generally (see Coatsworth and Pinder 2002, cited under Reference Works, pp. 24–31).

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      • Swindells, N., and Lloyd Laing. “Metalworking at the Mote of Mark, Kirkcudbright, in the 6th–7th Centuries AD.” In Aspects of Early Metallurgy. 2d ed. Edited by W. Andrew Oddy, 121–128. British Museum Occasional Papers 17. London: British Museum Publications, 1991.

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        Discusses finds of ores, slags, and crucibles, as well as of copper alloy and iron. Considers aspects that suggest a possible survival from Romano-British technology, and those that suggest a post-Roman period of innovation. Originally published in 1980.

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      Tools

      Tools are not always found at sites where working areas have been discovered or presumed—Anglo-Scandinavian Coppergate, York, is an exception; see Specific Sites. Others are found in smiths’ graves (Arwidsson and Berg 1999, Decaens 1971, Hinton 2000). Evidence of specific tools can be found in Coatsworth and Pinder 2002 (see Reference Works).

      • Arwidsson, Greta, and Gösta Berg. The Mästermyr Find: A Viking Age Tool Chest from Gotland. Lompoc, CA: Larson, 1999.

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        A Viking Age tool chest from c. 1000 turned up by a plow, containing a number of tools, including hammers, stakes, a saw, a circular cutting die, and shears. Originally published in 1983 (Stockholm: Kungliga Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien).

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      • Decaens, Joseph. “Un nouveau cimetière du haut moyen age en Normandie, Hérouvillette (Calvados).” Archéologie Médiévale 1 (1971): 1–125.

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        In a cemetery dated to the first half of the 6th century, which also produced Kentish-style brooches, one grave contained weapons and a heap including smiths’ tools, an ingot, and scrap metal, contained originally in a bag or box. The tools included a hammer, shears, and a container with mercury (used in the gilding process). The deceased appears to have been both prominent in his society and a goldsmith.

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      • Hinton, David A. A Smith in Lindsey: The Anglo-Saxon Grave at Tattershall Thorpe, Lincolnshire. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 16. London: Society for Medieval Archaeology, 2000.

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        The definitive publication of the archaeological excavation of a smith’s grave, redated to the 7th century and identified by grave goods including small-scale tools useful for fine metalworking, and copper alloy and other odds and ends useful for making or repairs. Points out that neither the assemblage nor the lonely site of the grave confirms a status, bonded or itinerant, for the smith, despite the possible presence in the area of a pre-Viking royal estate.

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      Utensils (Cupels, Models, Molds, Parting Vessels, Crucibles)

      Vessels are used at various stages in smelting, refining, and casting processes, and traces within them are often an important source of evidence both for working areas and practices. They are covered often in specialist reports within site reports and monographs (e.g., Bayley 1990, cited under Specific Sites: Winchester, for cupels and parting vessels). They can be made in a variety of materials, depending on the amount of heat they are required to stand up to, and several examples of molds in different materials have been selected here; for example, Bayley 1984, Craddock 1989, Lamm 1973, and Lamm 1991 are also useful sources of comparative material. Webster 1993 is included because of the identifiable early brooch type represented, and Mortimer 1994 provides an example of surviving models from which molds could be made.

      • Bayley, Justine. “Chalk Moulds.” In Excavations in Thetford, 1948–59 and 1973–80. Edited by Andrew Rogerson and Carolyn Dallas, 111. East Anglian Archaeology 22. Dereham, UK: Norfolk Archaeological Unit, Norfolk Museums Service, 1984.

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        Examples of ingot molds made from chalk from this site would have been most suitable for lead or pewter because of the low heat resistance of chalk.

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      • Craddock, Paul T. “Metalworking Techniques.” In The Work of Angels: Masterpieces of Celtic Metalwork, 6th–9th Centuries AD. Edited by Susan Youngs, 170–213. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989.

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        The Work of Angels is the catalogue of an exhibition of Celtic fine metalwork held in the British Museum in 1989, but it is very important for comparative purposes and for its last chapter, which is a well-illustrated catalogue of molds, motif pieces (with implications for the processes of design), and items in which the use of various techniques can be demonstrated, wrapped in a generally useful discussion about making processes.

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      • Lamm, Kristina. “The Manufacture of Jewellery during the Migration Period at Helgö in Sweden.” Bulletin of the Historical Metallurgy Group 7.2 (1973): 1–7.

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        Analysis of the remains from this 5th- to 6th-century production site on the island of Helgö in Sweden, particularly important for its evidence for crucibles and molds in the production process.

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      • Lamm, Kristina. “Early Medieval Metalworking on Helgö in Central Sweden.” In Aspects of Early Metallurgy. 2d ed. Edited by W. Andrew Oddy, 97–116. British Museum Occasional Papers 17. London: British Museum Publications, 1991.

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        Important both for its identification of a permanent workshop from the 5th to the 9th centuries (with a concentration in the 6th century), which is a contribution to the ongoing discussion of the organization and development of metalworking over this period, and for its discussion of casting methods. Among the finds were tuyeres, crucibles (especially lidded crucibles), and molds. Originally published in 1980.

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      • Mortimer, Catherine. “Lead-Alloy Models for Three Early Anglo-Saxon Brooches.” Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 7 (1994): 27–33.

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        Suggests that three objects identified as lead models might have been made by cutting sections from cast lead sheet, soldered together in sections and then cleaned up and decorated.

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      • Webster, Leslie. “The Brooch Mould.” In Excavations at Mucking. Vol. 2, The Anglo-Saxon Settlement. Edited by Helena Hamerow, 62–63. Archaeological Report/English Heritage 21. London: English Heritage, 1993.

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        Account of a rare find: a two-part mold of a great square-headed brooch, 6th–7th century.

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      Raw Materials and Sources of Metals

      Evidence for sources of metal is always important. Hinton 2011 surveys the work, to date, on the extraction of raw materials, but like in Brown and Schweizer 1973 and Oddy 1983, the author also confirms the recycling of metals. See also Brown 1986 (cited under Reference Works).

      • Brown, P. D. C., and F. Schweizer. “X-Ray Fluorescent Analysis of Anglo Saxon Jewellery.” Archaeometry 15.2 (July 1973): 175–192.

        DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-4754.1973.tb00088.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Compared analyses of gold alloys between 6th- and 7th-century jewelry and contemporary coinage, suggesting that the latter was melted down and reused to make the former. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      • Hinton, David A. “Raw Materials: Sources and Demand.” In The Oxford Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. Edited by Helena Hamerow, David A. Hinton, and Sally Crawford, 423–439. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press: 2011.

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        Covers the evidence for sources (and demand for) raw materials, including iron extraction and smelting, and sources during this period for gold, silver, copper, and lead, including importation and recycling.

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      • Oddy, W. Andrew. “Bronze Alloys in Dark Age Europe.” In The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial. Vol. 3, Late Roman and Byzantine Silver, Hanging-Bowls, Drinking Vessels, Cauldrons and Other Containers, Textiles, the Lyre, Pottery Bottle and Other Items. Edited by Rupert L. S. Bruce-Mitford and Angela Care Evans, 945–961. London: British Museum, 1983.

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        Noted that Celtic goldsmiths appeared to have access to supplies on new copper alloy, while the Anglo-Saxons were dependent on Roman scrap and imported metalwork for this material.

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      Decorative Techniques

      Although basic tools have changed little, the fineness and small scale of some of the work is still the subject of comment. Both close visual inspection and microscopic analysis have been used to discover the marks that indicate the tools and techniques used. Brown 1915 set a pattern for studying metalwork through identification of techniques involved. Pinder 2001 identified the most likely methods for making a feature of composite disk brooches, sometimes overlooked because it is less striking than the decoration on the front. See also McFadyen 1998 (cited under Garnet Jewelry) for a thorough discussion of several of the techniques listed below.

      • Brown, Gerald Baldwin. The Arts in Early England. Vol. 3–4, Saxon Art and Industry in the Pagan Period. London: J. Murray, 1915.

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        As well as discussing specific examples of the metalworker’s art, Brown was one of the earliest scholars to take seriously the study of technique, listing (Vol. 3, pp. 291–292) engraving/incising, stamping, repoussé, casting, inlaying/plating, enameling, and setting stones, although he concentrates on description and comparison with Continental material rather than on technical analysis. He did, however, include the results of modern technical analysis where this was available.

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      • Pinder, Michael. “An Aspect of Seventh-Century Anglo-Saxon Goldsmithing.” In Pattern and Purpose in Insular Art: Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Insular Art Held at the National Museum & Gallery, Cardiff 3–6 September 1998. Edited by Mark Redknap, Nancy Edwards, Susan Youngs, Alan Lane, and Jeremy Knight, 133–139. Oxford: Oxbow, 2001.

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        Description of possible methods for making the finely reeded strip that binds together the front and back of 6th- to 7th-century composite disk brooches, using the evidence of marks left by the tools. Chasing, swaging, carving, and draw swaging are considered: the latter two appear the most likely. Well illustrated with drawings and close-up photographs of each type of tool, and both modern and Anglo-Saxon reeded strips.

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      Enamel

      Enamel is a vitreous (i.e., glassy) silica-based substance that can be fused by heat to metal surfaces. It was not common in early Anglo-Saxon centuries; see Scull 1985, although Hines 1997 (cited under Typological Studies) notes a few examples, and see also Stapleton, et al. 1999. Buckton 1986 is still the standard work on the later material.

      • Buckton, David. “Late 10th- and 11th-Century Cloisonné Enamel Brooches.” Mediaeval Archaeology 30 (1986): 8–18.

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        The only account dedicated to this subject, placing late Anglo-Saxon production in a European context and noting some interesting features of technique—for example, in brooches in which enameling was combined with gilding, which required careful management of the construction process.

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      • Scull, Christopher. “Further Evidence from East Anglia for Enamelling on Early Anglo-Saxon Metalwork.” Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 4 (1985): 117–124.

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        Study of a group of 6th-century enameled copper-alloy dress accessories, which the author believed indicated a continuing Romano-British population in its area and its metalwork traditions.

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      • Stapleton, C. P., I. C. Freestone, and D. G. E. Bowman. “Composition and Origin of Early Mediaeval Opaque Red Enamel from Britain and Ireland.” Journal of Archaeological Science 26.8 (August 1999): 913–921.

        DOI: 10.1006/jasc.1999.0399Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Suggests that red enamel may have developed as a fortuitous by-product of refining silver. Also notes that the composition of Anglo-Saxon red enamels differs from that in use in the Roman period, which suggests that enameling was practiced in Anglo-Saxon England, though on a smaller scale than in Celtic Britain of the same period. Available online.

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      Inlay

      Inlaying one color or material into another was a favorite technique of Anglo-Saxon artists, playing as it did on contrasts in color. One type of inlay is the inlaying of silver into iron or bronze (Evison 1955, Evison 1958). There is some evidence that this type of inlay was practiced at Faccombe (Netherton) in the 10th century; see Fairbrother 1990 (cited under Workshops). Niello (a mixture of silver and sulfur; copper and sulfur; or silver, copper, and sulfur, which looks richly black when polished) was inlaid into the recesses of an engraved or chased design to lend contrast (Oddy, et al. 1983). Other inlaid materials include a white material (La Niece 1988), crystal (Kornbluth 1989—also interesting because the crystal appears to have been reused), and glass (Bimson 1983).

      • Bimson, Mavis. “Coloured Glass and Millefiori in the Sutton Hoo Grave Deposit.” In The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial. Vol. 3, Late Roman and Byzantine Silver, Hanging–Bowls, Drinking Vessels, Cauldrons and Other Containers, Textiles, the Lyre, Pottery Bottle and Other Items. Edited by Rupert L. S. Bruce-Mitford and Angela Care Evans, 924–944. London: British Museum, 1983.

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        Discussion and analysis of inlays of this material throughout the deposit.

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      • Evison, Vera I. “Early Anglo-Saxon Inlaid Metalwork.” Antiquaries Journal 35.1–2 (April 1955): 20–45.

        DOI: 10.1017/S0003581500048587Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        An important article that brought to scholarly attention a previously largely ignored aspect of Anglo-Saxon metalwork: the inlaying of silver into iron or bronze (copper alloy) objects. The paper includes a discussion of inlaying techniques and an account of the technique used in making the radiographs. It concludes with a list of forty-nine objects, either under find site or museum collection. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      • Evison, Vera I. “Further Anglo-Saxon Inlay.” Antiquaries Journal 38.3–4 (July 1958): 240–244.

        DOI: 10.1017/S0003581500081993Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Added to the list of inlaid objects listed in Evison 1955. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      • Kornbluth, Genevra A. “The Alfred Jewel: Reuse of Roman Spolia.” Medieval Archaeology 33 (1989): 32–37.

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        Showed that the slab of crystal covering the front of the Jewel was a reuse of a Roman survival. Available online.

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      • La Niece, Susan. “White Inlays in Anglo-Saxon Jewellery.” In Science and Archaeology, Glasgow 1987: Proceedings of a Conference on the Application of Scientific Techniques to Archaeology, Glasgow, September 1987. Edited by Elizabeth A. Slater and James O. Tate, 235–245. British Archaeological Reports British Series 196, i–ii. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 1988.

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        Found in Kentish silver and gold jewelry of the late 6th and 7th centuries, in small, flat areas and as domed shapes in a gold setting containing a garnet, variously identified as shell (including two examples of mother-of-pearl), magnesite or cristoballite, and bone or ivory.

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      • Oddy, W. Andrew, Mavis Bimson, and Susan La Niece. “The Composition of Niello Decoration on Gold, Silver and Bronze in the Antique and Mediaeval Periods.” Studies in Conservation 28.1 (February 1983): 29–35.

        DOI: 10.2307/1506104Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Later recipes for niello inlay often included a proportion of lead, but none was found in analyzed Anglo-Saxon samples. Available online by subscription.

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      Wire and Granulation

      Filigree is made from short lengths of beaded and/or twisted wire, bent into usually simple repeated motifs, interlace patterns, or frames surrounding other plain or patterned fields. It is usually made with gold and is set onto thin, gold backing plates. Used from the late 6th century onward, but beaded forms of wire seem to have been more popular in the early part of the period. Granulation, tiny globules of melted gold pulled into a sphere through surface tension, was used throughout the period. The major studies of the techniques (Duczko 1985, Whitfield 1987, Whitfield 1998) are contemporary with, but not centered on, Anglo-Saxon work. See McFadyen 1998 (cited under Garnet Jewelry) for experiments based on block- or strip-twisted wire.

      • Duczko, Wladislaw. The Filigree and Granulation Work of the Viking Period: An Analysis of the Material from Björkö. Birka Untersuchungen und Studien 5. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1985.

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        A study of the filigree of the Viking Age from the Swedish site of Birka. Like Whitfield, Duczko replicated the processes they suggested for the making of beaded wire, basing these on the treatise by Theophilus (see Medieval Treatises on Metalworking).

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      • Whitfield, Niamh. “Motifs and Techniques of Celtic Filigree: Are They Original?” In Ireland and Insular Art, A.D. 500–1200: Proceedings of a Conference at University College Cork, 13 October–3 November 1985. Edited by Michael Ryan, 75–84. Dublin, Ireland: Royal Irish Academy, 1987.

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        A survey of filigree, aimed at identifying features of the Celtic tradition.

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      • Whitfield, Niamh. “The Manufacture of Ancient Beaded Wire: Experiments and Observations.” Jewellery Studies 8 (1998): 58–86.

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        Study of making processes of beaded wire, supported by replication (using modern drawn wires) and based on the tools and methods suggested by Theophilus.

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      Garnet Jewelry

      Gold and garnet jewelry has been a topic of interest since the earliest discoveries of this often-spectacular style, for its connections with Continental Germanic art, the sources of its constituent materials, and for evidence of the making processes involved in its often-complex structure. Arrhenius 1985 (based on the author’s earlier study dating to 1971) is the starting point for much later study. The following references are a small selection of those available (although others are to be found; see, e.g., Specific Sites), chosen as examples of different approaches—stylistic analysis (Kendrick 1933, MacGregor 2000), typology (Avent 1975), making processes (McFadyen 1998, Pinder 1995), and the garnets with their backing of gold foil (Bimson 1985, Meeks and Holmes 1985).

      • Arrhenius, Birgit. Merovingian Garnet Jewellery: Emergence and Social Implications. Stockholm: Kungliga Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, 1985.

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        Seminal study that provided a rich source of comparative material for all later studies of this material. Looked at the spread of the technique, up to and including some Anglo-Saxon examples—among the latest in the corpus. Diffraction analysis by Diego Carlström.

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      • Avent, Richard. Anglo-Saxon Garnet Inlaid Disc and Composite Brooches. 2 vols. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports, 1975.

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        Although published in the mid-1970s, this is still the starting point for studies of this class of material: for its catalogue and illustrations (mainly in black and white, some color) of all examples known up to 1975; its system of classification of types, which is still useful; and discussions of the technology involved, chronology, and distribution.

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      • Bimson, Mavis. “Dark-Age Garnet Cutting.” Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 4 (1985): 125–128.

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        A study of this important area that overturned some previously held assumptions about technique and time taken in the process of cutting. Bimson suggested that the garnets were traded as polished but uncut slabs.

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      • Kendrick, Thomas D. “Polychrome Jewellery in Kent.” Antiquity 7.28 (1933): 429–452.

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        One of the first studies to undertake close observation of gold and garnet jewelry. Kendrick concentrated on a stylistic analysis of the jewelry of this type from (mainly) Kent, for which he was concerned to show a “Jutish” connection. Although he places all the pieces earlier than would now be considered likely (c. 500 CE), he did identify differences between two main groups, on the basis of whether they did or did not use specific techniques.

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      • MacGregor, Arthur. “A Seventh-Century Pectoral Cross from Holderness, East Yorkshire.” Medieval Archaeology 44 (2000): 217–222.

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        A study of a 7th-century gold and garnet cross found in 1999 and now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, compared with the already known crosses such as that from the shrine of St. Cuthbert, Durham (see Specific Sites). This not only has garnet settings, but the garnet at its center is also inlaid with a ring of gold. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      • McFadyen, Angus H. “Aspects of the Production of Early Anglo-Saxon Cloisonné Garnet Jewellery.” PhD diss., Manchester Metropolitan University, 1998.

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        The main focus of this thesis, by a modern practitioner, is analysis of the structural elements of this type of jewelry, using replication, starting from the classical and medieval literature on workshop practice and archaeological evidence of tools and covering casting, niello, gilding, beaded wire, soldering, garnets, and backing material. The source of an admired exploded diagram of the Kingston Down brooch.

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      • Meeks, N. D., and R. Holmes. “The Sutton Hoo Garnet Jewellery: An Examination of Some Gold Backing Foils and a Study of Their Possible Manufacturing Techniques.” Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 4 (1985): 143–157.

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        One of several studies on the finely cross-hatched gold backing behind the garnet settings, lending them extra depth of color and sparkle. The most comprehensive study of possible manufacturing techniques for these very small-scale features.

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      • Pinder, Michael. “Anglo-Saxon Garnet Cloisonné Composite Disc Brooches: Some Aspects of Their Construction.” Journal of the British Archaeological Association 148.1 (1995): 6–28.

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        The first attempt to analyze the construction of a particular class of brooch—the garnet cloisonné composite disk brooch—using close-up visual inspection. The study revealed and classified the various component parts and was able to show clear distinctions between those with gold cloisonné and those with copper alloy, thus identifying three groups each with a distinct, probable common manufacturing source.

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      Gilding

      An important feature of much Anglo-Saxon fine metalwork throughout the period. Northover and Anheuser 2000 provides an overview of the history of the techniques in Britain; Oddy 1991 is still a useful summary of the technique as practiced by the Anglo-Saxons.

      • Northover, P., and K. Anheuser. “Gilding in Britain: Celtic, Roman and Saxon.” In Gilded Metals: History, Technology and Conservation. Edited by Terry Drayman-Weisser, 109–121. London: Archetype Publications, 2000.

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        Useful for its summary of knowledge, to date, and a bibliography of the subject.

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      • Oddy, W. Andrew. “Gilding and Tinning in Anglo-Saxon England.” In Aspects of Early Metallurgy. 2d ed. Edited by W. Andrew Oddy, 129–134. British Museum Occasional Papers 17. London: British Museum, 1991.

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        A thorough discussion of the history of these two techniques and their use in the Anglo-Saxon period, with a case study of the use of both on the Sutton Hoo shield and helmet. Originally published in 1980.

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      Smiths

      Coatsworth and Pinder 2002 (cited under Reference Works) covers most of the evidence for goldsmiths and, incidentally, other smiths. Brown 1986 (also cited under Reference Works) likewise includes much useful material. Bradley 1987 concentrates only on the legendary aspects, while Cherry 2011 is a survey of the goldsmith over the whole medieval period. Müller-Wille 1977 is included as a study based on an important set of comparative material from archaeological sources. See also Hinton 2000 (cited under Tools) for detailed study of the grave of an Anglo-Saxon smith, covering not only tools and a small store of scrap materials, but also its siting and social/historical context.

      • Bradley, James Lyons. “Legendary Metal Smiths and Early English Literature.” PhD diss., University of Leeds, 1987.

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        A useful discussion of attitudes toward smiths, in legend and in Christian writings, in early medieval thought generally, and in Anglo-Saxon England. There is some discussion of this in relation to the actual products of smiths and of their working lives.

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      • Cherry, John. Medieval Goldsmiths. 2d ed. London: British Museum Press, 2011.

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        An updated version of this well-illustrated introduction to the subject of the goldsmith in Europe until the 15th century (first published in 1992), briefly covering tools, craft organization and trade, the work of individual goldsmiths, and examples of their skill.

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      • Müller-Wille, Michael. “Der frühmittelalterliche Schmied im Spiegel skandinavischer Grabfunde.” Frühmittelalterliche Studien 11 (December 1977): 127–201.

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        A study of especially the tool evidence from a number of smiths’ graves in Scandinavia, revealing, inter alia, relatively few examples of tools specific to fine metalworkers. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      Style

      “Style” can be briefly defined as any distinctive features of the appearance of a work of art or craftsmanship that makes it directly comparable to other works by the same artist/craftsman, or to others of the same period, region, or regional “school.” Attribution to an individual or school might seem difficult for a period in which not many named artists are known, let alone what they produced, but period/regional schools have been defined in manuscripts, sculpture, and metalwork; individual though usually unnamed illustrators have certainly been identified in manuscripts, and occasionally for sculpture; and Coatsworth and Pinder 2002 (cited under Reference Works), for example, posits that two composite disk brooches from Faversham and Guilton could well have come from the same goldsmith’s workshop (p. 245). Nevertheless, the most common use of the term is in studies of the broader development of art styles, some named from centers within England but others named in recognition of their origins in Continental Germanic Europe and Scandinavia, so applied to works made outside England but also to locally made work following in, though also developing, these traditions. It is used (narrowly) for dating purposes, but it also has political and social implications in its evidence for influences flowing within and also both in and out of England, at different periods. At its best the study of style combines these aspects while also showing appreciation for the aesthetic qualities of the work, and an understanding of the taste, religious and social aspirations, and aesthetic sympathies of the original makers and their patrons (Webster 2012; see also Webster 2000 and Webster 2011, cited under the Ideological Significance of “Treasure”). See also Backhouse, et al. 1984 (cited under Exhibition Catalogues) and Hinton 1974 and Wilson 1964 (both cited under Museum Catalogues) for discussion of specific examples. Kendrick 1938 and Kendrick 1949 are still relevant as the background against which much later work was written.

      • Kendrick, Thomas Downing. Anglo-Saxon Art to A.D. 900. London: Methuen, 1938.

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        Though superseded by later finds and newer interpretations (see Kendrick 1937, cited under Durham), this and its sister work (Kendrick 1949) gave the author’s understanding of the various styles in their chronological and historical context (he was aware of Salin’s work on Germanic animal styles), and in the context of the full range of media.

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      • Kendrick, Thomas Downing. Late Saxon and Viking Art. London: Methuen, 1949.

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        Like Kendrick 1938, this is a well-illustrated survey of the full range of pre-Conquest art in stylistic terms, looking at Winchester and other styles he considered local developments, as well as at those from the Viking Age with Scandinavian origins and connections, with chapters on Jellinge, Ringerike, and Mammen styles. His juxtaposition of images of sculpture, manuscripts, and metalwork still has the capacity to instruct.

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      • Webster, Leslie. Anglo-Saxon Art: A New History. London: British Museum Press, 2012.

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        An introduction to the broader study of Anglo-Saxon art, particularly illuminating for its analysis of aesthetic qualities that would have been appreciated by its original makers/users. Included here because it is informed throughout by an analysis of styles and their role in understanding the complex interactions of peoples and ideologies in the early medieval world, using the most up-to-date research in these areas, including some analysis of the implications of the Staffordshire hoard.

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      Early Anglo-Saxon Period

      Most of the styles identified in this period are of Germanic animal ornament. For a brief but informed account of how all these early styles influenced England, from the end of the Roman period to the early 7th century, see Webster 2012 (cited under Style), pp. 49–67. This section includes only some of the main steps by which two significant animal styles became influential in the study of English art styles. The starting point is the study of Germanic animal ornament in Salin 1904. Salin’s Style 1 as applied to England is seen as insufficiently studied, though Haseloff 1974 at least supplied a brief account of the wider field in English, anticipating the more detailed study in Haseloff 1981. The dating, spread, and relationships of animal Style II (see Salin 1904, Speake 1980) seem to have become the main focus of interest as it concerns the major art of the 6th into the 7th centuries, including the art of the major site of Sutton Hoo. See also Dickinson 2005 and Høilund Nielsen 1998 (both cited under the Significance of the Animal Art Styles of the Early Anglo-Saxon Period) and papers by Høilund Nielsen and by George and Isobel Henderson on the style implications of the Staffordshire hoard, given at the Staffordshire Symposium (see Papers from the Staffordshire Hoard Symposium, cited under Staffordshire Hoard). For the Quoit Brooch style, see Suzuki 2000 (cited under Typological Studies).

      Viking Age

      The wave of invasions of Scandinavian origin, from the late 9th century especially, brought new influences on the metalwork of the later Anglo-Saxon centuries, at first from imports, but these styles too were taken up to some extent and influenced sculpture as well as metalwork. The styles in order of appearance were clarified for English-speaking scholars in Wilson and Klindt-Jensen 1980: from the Borre style, in Scandinavia from the 8th century, through the Jellinge, Mammen, and Ringerike styles, to the Urnes style (11th to 12th centuries).

      Winchester

      There are other regional styles or variations, and some have a wider influence (see Wilson and Blunt 1961, cited under Specific Sites, for the find from which the Trewhiddle style is named), but “Winchester” style is the best known, although in some ways its name is misleading because as it was the art associated with the monastic reform of the 10th century, it is found in manuscripts from several reformed monasteries, and it was also more widely influential. Scandinavian Ringerike ornament seems to have been influenced by it, and, conversely, Ringerike seems to have been accepted as an elite art because it had or developed points in common with the “Winchester” style. Much of the work on the style has been concerned with manuscript art, but both Wilson 1975 and Webster 1984 are examples of studies that filled out in some detail the development of the style in metalwork.

      • Webster, Leslie. “Brussels Reliquary Cross.” In The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Art, 966–1066. Edited by Janet Backhouse, D. H. Turner, and Leslie Webster, 90–92. London: British Museum Press, 1984.

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        Also see “Portable Reliquary” by Webster (p. 93). Detailed discussion of two important pieces of metalwork of the early 11th century, showing relationship to manuscript styles, in the case of the cross alongside Ringerike interlace and plant ornament.

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      • Wilson, David M. “Tenth-Century Metalwork.” In Tenth Century Studies: Essays in Commemoration of the Millennium of the Council of Winchester and Regularis Concordia. Edited by David Parsons, 200–207, 247–248. London and Chichester, UK: Phillimore, 1975.

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        Suggested that many features of the Winchester style were already present in English metalwork by 900, and also discussed the relation of 10th-century English work to material both from Scandinavia and central Europe.

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      Iconography

      The study of iconography, by necessity, concentrates on examples of fine metalwork. Study of style and design elements is an important part of the study of gold and garnet jewelry, for example (see Decorative Techniques).

      The Significance of the Animal Art Styles of the Early Anglo-Saxon Period

      Wilson 1986 (cited under General Overviews; p. 26) was quite clear that if there had been any original meaning to animal art such as Salin’s Style II, it was most likely lost by the time of the Sutton Hoo deposit—and if not, it was in any case lost to us today. Several more-recent papers, however, taking iconography and context into account, have taken a more positive line: Dickinson 2005, in seeing an apotropaic, literally as well as metaphorically protective function in the ornamentation of 6th- to 7th-century Anglo-Saxon shields, including one from Sutton Hoo, and Høilund Nielsen 1998, in seeking to account for the dissemination of the style in areas where myths of (or sometimes actual) Scandinavian origin can be traced.

      • Dickinson, Tania. “Symbols of Protection: The Significance of Animal-Ornamented Shields in Early Anglo-Saxon England.” Medieval Archaeology 49 (2005): 109–163.

        DOI: 10.1179/007660905x54062Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Study of animal ornament depicted on shields and shield mounts (detailed in a section on their typology), their chronology (mainly mid-6th to 7th century), distribution (Anglian cultural regions), and iconographic parallels (Scandinavian bracteates), for any evidence of their contemporary significance. Concludes that the shield decoration emphasized the protective function of the adult male and his authority over kin, the local community, and, in the case of Sutton Hoo, a kingdom. Available online.

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      • Høilund Nielsen, Karen. “Animal Style—a Symbol of Might and Myth: Salin’s Style II in a European Context.” Acta Archaeologica 69 (1998): 1–52.

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        A study that usefully begins with a short history of the development of the study of styles of Germanic animal ornament, particularly of the pre-Viking styles. Here, however, the starting point and focus is Salin’s style II and the contexts in which manifestations of this style are found, with a view to examining the political and social conditions in which it arose and flourished. Particularly interesting is the discussion based around a study both of the genuine origins and myths of Scandinavian origin, of various Germanic peoples, including the Anglo-Saxons.

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      Sight and Insight

      In the later centuries, iconographic studies of metalwork have concentrated on the relatively few examples with figural ornament. Here the focus is on two prominent examples of figural iconography, the Alfred jewel and the Fuller brooch. These studies have been linked from the 1960s by the interest in the depiction of Sight and its link to the idea of spiritual wisdom (Bakka 1966, Howlett 1974); more recently, studies of the Fuller brooch especially have concentrated on the interaction of patron, designer, and craftsman, and on the figure of King Alfred (Coatsworth and Pinder 2011, Pratt 2003). However, Gannon 2006 shows deeper roots for depictions of the Five Senses.

      • Bakka, Egil. “The Alfred Jewel and Sight.” Antiquaries Journal 46.2 (September 1966): 277–282.

        DOI: 10.1017/S0003581500053294Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Suggested that the figure on the front of the Alfred jewel represented Sight, as on the Fuller brooch. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      • Coatsworth, Elizabeth, and Michael Pinder. “Sight, Insight and Hand: Some Reflections on the Design and Manufacture of the Fuller Brooch.” In The Material Culture of Daily Living in the Anglo-Saxon World. Edited by Maren Clegg Hyer and Gale R. Owen-Crocker, 258–274. Exeter, UK: Exeter University Press, 2011.

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        The 9th-century Fuller brooch as a case study of the factors involved in its making, including materials, design process, techniques, iconography, and historical and intellectual context. The possible relationships among commissioner, designer, and maker are considered in detail. Takes into account all previous work on this important piece.

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      • Gannon, Anna. “The Five Senses and Anglo-Saxon Coinage.” Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 13 (2006): 97–104.

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        A study that shows that interest in the iconography of the Five Senses is represented in a group of silver sceattas from as early as the first half of the 8th century. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      • Howlett, D. R. “The Iconography of the Alfred Jewel.” Oxoniensia 39 (1974): 44–52.

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        Argued that the figure on the front of the Alfred jewel represented the Wisdom of God; the plant motif on the back, the Tree of Life.

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      • Pratt, David. “Persuasion and Invention at the Court of King Alfred the Great.” In Court Culture in the Early Middle Ages: The Proceedings of the First Alcuin Conference. Edited by Catherine Cubitt, 189–221. Studies in the Early Middle Ages 3. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2003.

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        Suggested that Alfred’s interest in spiritual and temporal wisdom and his use (in his own writings) of the idea of the “mind’s eyes” in perceiving wisdom, as well as his interest in design and working with craftsmen, underpin the dating of the Fuller brooch to his period, and even that it may have been owned by the king.

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      Typological Studies

      A feature of research publications in this period is the number devoted to typological studies, in which objects are classified according to their physical characteristics. In the case of metalwork, this often includes features that identify a style or would otherwise come under the heading of iconography. It is useful to those with an interest in the developing art and technology of the period (see Axboe 1982, Dickinson 1982, and Dickinson 1993), and in the evidence for cultural contacts both within and outside England and the movement of peoples (Hines 1997), but it is mainly driven by a desire to date some of the material more closely (Suzuki 2000, Suzuki 2008). The area has received a considerable boost—but also very often revealed a need to rewrite what was previously thought—brought about by the explosion in numbers of known artifacts as a result of activities of metal detectors (Suzuki 2008, Thomas 1996).

      • Axboe, Morten. “The Scandinavian Gold Bracteates: Studies on Their Manufacture and Regional Variations.” Acta Archaeologica 52 (1982): 1–100.

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        Bracteates (flat, thin, single-sided gold medallions) were a feature of Scandinavian metalwork from the migration period. They were imported into England in the 6th century and were made in England thereafter, where they were completed with a suspension loop. Axboe’s book deals with the bracteates of Scandinavia and is selected here because of its thorough discussion of manufacturing methods.

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      • Dickinson, Tania M. “Ornament Variation in Pairs of Cast Saucer Brooches: A Case Study from the Upper Thames Region.” In Aspects of Production and Style in Dark Age Metalwork: Selected Papers Given to the British Museum Seminar on Jewellery, AD 500–660. Edited by Leslie Webster, 21–50. British Museum Occasional Papers 34. London: British Museum, 1982.

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        Discusses the possible use of durable bronze (acknowledging that evidence for these is hard to find), lead, or wax models in the casting process, and what these might imply for workshops, itinerant practitioners, or those in more-settled conditions. Put forward the view that the greater variety and experimentation in the later brooch groups was likely to be the product of a settled environment.

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      • Dickinson, Tania M. “Early Anglo-Saxon Saucer Brooches: A Preliminary Overview.” Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 6 (1993): 11–44.

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        Carries on the discussion from Dickinson 1982, with the argument for workshops based on the use of wax models and the use of templates. She concluded, however, that knowledge of production methods does not lead automatically to knowledge of how production was organized.

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      • Hines, John. A New Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Great Square-Headed Brooches. Reports of the Research Committee of the Society of Antiquaries of London 51. Woodbridge, UK, and Rochester, NY: Boydell, 1997.

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        Supersedes a study of this 5th- to 6th-century migration-period dress jewelry, published in 1949. Identifies twenty-five groups in more than two hundred known examples, categorized through quantification of similarities between brooches, to establish a relative a chronology and evidence for cultural contacts from without and within Anglo-Saxon England. Although further examples of the type have been added to the corpus since 1997, the method seems to have stood up to critical analysis.

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      • Suzuki, Seiichi. The Quoit Brooch Style and Anglo-Saxon Settlement: A Casting and Recasting of Cultural Identity Symbols. Woodbridge, UK, and Rochester, NY: Boydell, 2000.

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        Indispensable for its listing of the corpus (with brief bibliographies), illustrated both with photographs and drawings, of a style that developed from late Roman metalwork and flourished and died within the 5th century. The methodology, which attempts to apply rigid design “rules” to an art style that takes its name from a 5th-century brooch type, can be criticized. As with the companion book (Suzuki 2008), issues of function, or the status/gender of the wearer, are not considered.

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      • Suzuki, Seiichi. Anglo-Saxon Button Brooches: Typology, Genealogy, Chronology. Anglo-Saxon Studies 10. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2008.

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        Study of a type of 5th- to 6th-century dress fastener, after the huge explosion in numbers brought about through metal detecting. An invaluable resource with its complete catalogue and photographic coverage, but its methodology, a novel “recursive partitioning” algorithm applied to the corpus to identify the “prototypical” and the “peripheral” for each class, does not address any human aspect such as taste, status, or gender of the wearer.

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      • Thomas, Gabor. “Silver Wire Strap-Ends from East Anglia.” Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 9 (1996): 81–100.

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        An analysis of technique, style, and distribution of a group of silver-wire–decorated strap ends from East Anglia—an important contribution to understanding the regional relationships of a widespread type of artifact. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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      The Vocabulary of the Anglo-Saxon Smith

      For those interested in this topic, there are several sources, including the main print and online dictionaries of Anglo-Saxon (Bosworth and Toller 1980, Dictionary of Old English) and a useful thesaurus of vocabulary (Roberts, et al. 1995). These sources are brought together with some further reflection in Coatsworth and Pinder 2002. Schabram 1985 is a study of a particular term that has been wrongly translated in the past. Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England is an online database that lists many named smiths/goldsmiths and links them to the sources in which they and sometimes information about their work are to be found.

      • Bosworth, Joseph, and T. Northcote Toller. An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary: Based on the Manuscript Collections of the Late Joseph Bosworth. Rev. ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980.

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        First published in 1898, it was continued by T. Northcote Toller in Supplement II (Oxford: Clarendon, 1921), and again with enlarged addenda and corrigenda by Alistair Campbell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972). Still an important source.

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      • Coatsworth, Elizabeth, and Michael Pinder. “Appendix A: The Anglo-Saxon Vocabulary of Metalworking.” In The Art of the Anglo-Saxon Goldsmith: Fine Metalwork in Anglo-Saxon England; Its Practice and Practitioners. By Elizabeth Coatsworth and Michael Pinder, 247–257. Anglo-Saxon Studies. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2002.

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        The Anglo-Saxon vocabulary of metalworking, drawn mainly from Bosworth and Toller 1980; the Dictionary of Old English; and Roberts, et al. 1995, and studies of single words such as Schabram 1985. Covers “Materials and By-Products,” “Tools and Equipment,” “Manufacturing and Decorative Techniques and Processes,” and “Metalworkers.” Relations to modern technical vocabulary are also discussed, where the information is known to the authors. Words found only in glosses are distinguished by italics; those found only in poetry, in bold.

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      • Dictionary of Old English.

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        Also available on CD-ROM. Will eventually supersede Bosworth and Toller 1980 but is still some way from completion.

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        • Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England.

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          An online database that aims to provide information on all recorded inhabitants of England between the late 6th and late 11th centuries. It provides much useful information on named smiths.

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          • Roberts, Jane A., Christian Kay, and Lynne Grundy. A Thesaurus of Old English. 2 vols. King’s College London Medieval Studies. London: King’s College London, Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies, 1995.

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            Important because it lists words under various headings, including those to crafts and everyday life. The second volume is an index to the first. An electronic version at Glasgow University that is based on the second impression of the book is available online.

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          • Schabram, Hans. “Ae. Smylting ‘Electrum’: Polysemie Lat. Wörter als Problem der ae. Lexikographie.” In Problems of Old English Lexicography: Studies in Memory of Angus Cameron. Edited by Alfred Bammesberger, 317–330. Eichstätter Beiträge 15. Regensburg, West Germany: F. Pustet, 1985.

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            Argued strongly that smylting appeared consistently in lists of metals and most likely means an alloy of gold and silver. It has been wrongly translated as amber, a mistake that seems to go back to Isidore of Seville.

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          LAST MODIFIED: 12/19/2012

          DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396584-0133

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