A metal detectorist discovered a bejeweled sword adornment from 1400 years ago. The archaeologist uncovered the Anglo-Saxon object with a metal detector in the Breckland area of Norfolk in eastern England in April. Dating to between A.D. 560 and 630, the object is known as a sword pyramid or sword harness. At the time Norfolk was a part of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of East Anglia. The tiny 12mm by 11.9mm (0.4in by 0.4in) mount is said to be lost by a Sutton Hoo-era lord “careening around the countryside.”
Portable Antiquities Scheme finds liaison officer Helen Geake said, the artifact, made in gold and garnet, are of Indian or Sri Lankan origin. According to her, the bearer may have been a member of a royal entourage, revealing the far-flung nature of trade networks in the 6th and 7th Centuries. “They or their lord had access to gold and garnets and to high craftsmanship,” she said.
Dr Geake told BBC News, that the sword pyramid would have been a part of a pair and so its loss “was like losing one earring - very annoying.” The small mounts are often decorated and later attached to the end of bands encasing a sword. The mounts were included in a mechanism which helped bind a sword to its scabbard. Researchers speculate that one of the object’s functions was to delay the hasty unsheathing of a warrior’s sword in anger. Dr Geake said,"It’s believed they made it a bit more of an effort to get the sword out of the scabbard, possibly acting as a check on an angry reaction."
It is believed the extremely fine foil on the back of the sword may have been created by a technique such as a modern pantograph. It is used to compress the size of the design.
The find was reported to the Norfolk Coroner, as demanded by the Treasure Act.
A more ornate pair was uncovered at the early 7th Century ship burial at Sutton Hoo, earlier this year. The Sutton Hoo ship burial also featured in the Netflix movie The Dig. Sue Brunning, from the British Museum, London, told BBC, “The Sutton Hoo ship burial is one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time."
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