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THE GOLD AND GARNET CHAIN FROM ISENBÜTTEL, GERMANY: A POSSIBLE PIN SUITE WITH ANGLO-SAXON PARALLELS

  • Alexandra Hilgner (a1)

Abstract

The ‘Isenbüttel gold necklace’, now in the Lower Saxony State Museum in Hanover, was found almost a century ago in Lower Saxony, an area with no history of early medieval gold finds or richly furnished burials. As no parallels are known for the object, scholars have long debated the dating, provenance and function of this unique loop-in-loop chain, with its animal-head terminals and garnet cloisonné. Recent excavations of Anglo-Saxon cemeteries dating to the seventh century have, however, added new finds to the small corpus of objects known as ‘pin suites’, consisting of comparatively short pins perhaps designed to fix a veil or a light shawl in the collar area, with ornate pinheads, linked by chains. This paper focuses on Anglo-Saxon pin suites from high-status burials of the second half of the seventh century and seeks to set the finds group in its wider social and historical context, revealing the far-reaching relationships that existed between early medieval elites.

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THE GOLD AND GARNET CHAIN FROM ISENBÜTTEL, GERMANY: A POSSIBLE PIN SUITE WITH ANGLO-SAXON PARALLELS

  • Alexandra Hilgner (a1)

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