Metal detecting holidays in England

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Saxon/Viking History and artifact finds

Saxon harness fittings now have their own page

Saxon harrness fittings

Saxon coin are now on a new page

Saxon coins

Saxon Bronze ornamental plate


The Angle, Saxon, and Jute tribes who invaded Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries are known as the Anglo-Saxons. They left their homelands in northern Germany, Denmark and northern Holland and rowed across the North Sea in wooden boats.

The Anglo-Saxons took control of most of Britain, although they never conquered Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. They divided the country into kingdoms, each with its own royal family. The stronger kingdoms often took control of the weaker kingdoms.

By around AD 600 the five main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Kent and Anglia.

Early Anglo-Saxons wrote using letters called runes. They believed runes had magical powers.


Anglo Saxon England (597 - 687)
The coming of St. Augustine, triumph of Rome-oriented Christianity, Saxon control of island, rise of Mercia, Offa's Dyke.

Anglo Saxon England (688 - 801)
Rise of Wessex, King Ine establishes his law, Venerable Bede, Viking invasions.
Anglo Saxon England (802 - 898)
Triumph of Egbert, development of Wessex dynasty, Viking wars, Alfred the Great, St. Swithun, Peace of Wedmore, the Danelaw.

Anglo Saxon England (899 - 977)
Athelstan, St. Dunstan, growth of monasteries, more Viking wars, Battle of Brunanburh
Anglo Saxon England (978 - 1066)
Aethelred the Unready, Danegeld, Danes gain English crown, Edward the Confessor, rise of the Godwins, Westminster Abbey, Harold and William at Hastings.

Mercian Rule

Wulfhere 658-675
Aethelred I 675-704
Coenred 704-709
Coelred 709-716
Coelwald 716
Aethelbald 716-757
Beornred 757
Offa 757-796 - see coin find below
Egfrith 796
Coenwulf 796-821 - see coin find below
Cenelm (St.) 821
Ceolwulf I 821-823
Beornwulf 823-825
Ludecan 825-827
Wiglaf 827-828

Under Wessex Rule 828-830

Mercian Rule

Wiglaf (again) 830-840
Wistan (St.) 840
Beorhtwulf 840-852
Burghred 852-874

Sub-Kings under Norse Rule

Ceolwulf II 874-879

Mercian Rule

Aethelred II 879-884

c. 561 Coins are minted again in England by Bishop Liudard


The minting of coins in Britain had been abandoned after about 435 as a result of the Anglo-Saxon invasions. Bishop Liudard came over from France with the Merovingian Princess Bertha who married Prince Aethelbart who later, in 590, becomes King of Kent.


c. 604-616 Bishop Mellitus issues gold coins from a mint in London
These are used more for ornament than as currency.
620-625 Sutton Hoo ceremonial Saxon burial ship


Among the various treasures on board, are 37 Merovingian gold coins, but no English coins.

c. 630 Saxons first start to produce gold coins in significant numbers


As a result of the gradual rebuilding of commercial and cultural contacts with France and Italy Anglo-Merovingian types of coinage begin to circulate in south-east England.

c. 630-c. 650 Crondall hoard of coins


A hoard of 101 gold coins, most of which were minted in England, is buried at Crondall in Hampshire. The precise date is not certain.

c. 675 Silver starts to displace gold in Saxon coinage


Initially silver is used with gold as an alloy but early in the 8th century silver and base metals are the only ones used.

752 Pepin the Short of France starts minting the Denier
This new silver coin serves as a model for the English penny.
757-796 Reign of Offa, King of Mercia the most powerful Saxon Kingdom
During Offa's reign the minting of coins in England reaches new heights, both in terms of quality and quantity.
c. 765 King Heaberth of Kent produces the first English pennies


After the conquest of Kent by Offa, King of Mercia, production of the silver penny increases enormously and it replaces the older, more crudely designed sceat as the main English coin, except in Northumbria.

789 Vikings raid Portland


For the next 2-3 centuries England is subjected to repeated Viking attacks.


Saxon (c.550-650AD) dagger pommel

What can you say about a find like this, just beautifully tooled solid gold and probably owned by a very important Saxon chief. Brought by Colchester museum under the Treasure Act.

Cleaned up Saxon rope necklace end - single rivet fixing

Beast with large bottom jaw, large nose, recessed eyes with his head resting on his paw left - rear shows curled up spiralled tail.

Rope necklace is still embedded in end



Monster find - Early medieval gold ring - reported as treasure to museum

Interesting hand punched lettering which has a barred A with additional top bar like on short cross coins of Class7 and an unbarred A also on the ring.

"DEBAL GUD GUDANI +" which is Gothic, meaning "God of Gods"

G is classic Saxon design


4.22g, 4.49mm H x 22.59mm W

9th-10thC gold finger ring - reported as treasure to museum

2.05g, 10.33mm W


Huge Saxon/Viking medallion

11.20g, 27.95mm

Stunning 11thC late Viking buckle - two biting beasts gripping the cross bar of the buckle

Monster find - circa 8thC Anglo Saxon mount - possibly Viking - one for the museum - cleaned up pictures added

Black enamel with silver inlay

40.28mm high

Stunning enamelled Saxon mount

Saxon gold 'Flat type' pin head back- reported as treasure to museum

0.94g, 10.35mm

Ancient gold sheet - reported as potential treasure to museum

5.23g, 14mm L

C6thC Saxon gilded disc brooch

Anglo-Saxon 'Class Ai' Button Brooch

What a stunning find - soaking to remove the soil - each raised section is 4mm deep

Not an obvious fixing for a brooch, more like a mount. Nothing so far in my reference books, at a guess Early medieval in date

36.6mm high, 7.16mm thick, 16.17g

Initial ID from the museum is early medieval also.

5th-6th century AD Saxon gilded saucer brooch - running spiral design East Anglian type

Donated to Colchster museum by Ark Gary

Large C8thC Saxon mount


61.54mm L x 35.8mm W, 54.89g

Stunning early medieval dagger quillion - finger guard is decorated with a runic inscription

I checked all the runic styles and it matches Norwegian the best - one for the museum

Norwegian Futhark




5th-6th century AD Saxon gilded saucer brooch - running spiral design East Anglian type- donated to Colchester museum

Thor's hammer pendant - silvered base metal 2.45g - 22.59mm L

Museums feedback 'The pendant is Viking period, so 9th-11th century. It represents Thor’s hammer which was called Mjollnir. I would suggest that it is Scandinavian rather than a copy, as it is securely placed within Viking mythology.'

Viking Age 1000AD. This particular Thor's Hammer pendant was found in Mandemark on the island of Møn and is displayed in the National Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Saxon solid gold hanging pendant ? - 2.65g, 11.95mm H x 10.68mm dia x 11.68mm W

Currently with the British Museum being evaluated

8thC Saxon pin head- 4.05g, 9.47mm dia, 19.05mm L
8thC Saxon bronze brooch 3.80g, 25.46mm L 15.24mm W

Saxon wrist band with punched circle design - 63.87mm W x 4.92mm T

9thC Viking engraved silver strap end 5.82g, 44.44mm L x 11.91mm W. found by Cal Shawn

Decoration matches the bowl on the left which is part of a known Viking silver hoard


C10thC Anglo Saxon strap end 18.48g, 34.41mmL x 18.33mmW x6.53mm H

Only one of it's type found in Britain - donated to Colchester museum by NovaScotia Andy

'It is probably an insular copy of a Carolingian style, or it could even be the product of a workshop located on the fringes of the Carolingian continent, maybe somewhere like Domburg on the coast of Frisia. 10th - 11th century in date'.

5thC bronze decorated dagger guard or quillion 42.87mmL ,10.85mm H

Saxon gilded and decorated hanger

9thC hanger with face design(b) found by Essex Dave
Roman coin used as a Saxon pendant
4thC Roman bronze used by an 8thC Saxon as a pendant
  8thC Saxon key found by Cal Shawn
Saxon period decorated mount
Saxon 8thC pin head
9thC Bronze silvered Saxon strap end fragment 9.54g, 27.89mm L



circa 10thC Saxon bronze key - decorated
Saxon equal ended brooch fragment
Saxon equal ended brooch fragment
Viking stirup terminal
Anglo Saxon period buckle with central pivoted pin
C10thC Saxon bronze key 10.41g, 40.88mm Lx19.58mm W x 6.30mm T

C 8th/9thC decorated Saxon strap end fragment - 3 rivet fixings 1.53g, 23.38mm L x 9.97mm W
Saxon period item - decorated with iron shaft running through it - possible small knife handle - one for the museum
11.04g, 26.80mm L x 14.28mm dia
C 10thC Saxon key
Saxon pin head - ridge on shaft
C10C Saxon key handle
Saxon key - pendant type
C 10thC Saxon clothing fastener - single rivet fixing
Crude Saxon hooked fastener - 2 rivet fixings
c10thC Saxon brooch
C10thC Saxon trefoil brooch
C10thC Saxon brooch

Anglo Saxon disc brooch of the Middle period C9thC - some silvering remains

Hattatt Page 379

Open mouthed beast zoomorphic type - red eyes

Viking style zoomorphic dagger chape 54.08mm L, 29.85g - red and green enamel remains


Saxon hanging heavily gilded pendant ??

39.97mm L

Very unusual zoomophic Saxon mount
Saxon perforated brooch
Saxon hooked clothing fastener - single rivet fixing
C10th C Gilded Saxon hooked mount C8thC Saxon bow brooch

Staggeringly rare find - c8thC Saxon solid silver hooked fastener used on their leg bindings

Reported as treasure to museum

C4th to 8thC Decorated and gilded helmet cheek piece - could be Roman or Saxon - checking ref books

75.02mm L

Saxon pin Saxon brooch
th century AD. Hooked tags were used to fasten a variety of openings on Anglo-Saxon costume, including leg-bindings, purses and cuffs. - circule decoration

C8thC Saxon bronze bracelet - circule design

Incredibly rare 6thC Saxon cruciform brooch - virtually non existent on the continent
c8thC circle decorated Saxon belt slide
c8thC Saxon gilded disc brooch fragment

C8thC Saxon mount with circle design Anglo Saxon buckle

Stunning decorated circa 8thC Saxon strap end

Stunning zoomorphic decorated circa 8thC Saxon strap end

C 8thC Saxon buckle  
Very unusual early medieval zoomorphic style buckle with integral plate

Huge C10thC gilded Saxon plate

Early medieval copper animal headed buckle


Very interesting gilded copper mount with woman prone facing left.

Not sure of date yet as it has the material construction for typical gilded Anglo Saxon but the features of Roman design

Early medieval gilded mount

Early medieval gilded mount

c10thC Saxon gilded disc brooch

c10thC Saxon hook fastener