Swallowcliffe Mount

Early Medieval, 7th century AD

This beautiful gold and silver satchel mount is from in a richly furnished and important Anglo-Saxon burial found on Swallowcliffe Down in 1966. The burial was of a young woman, 18–25 years old when she died, who was placed on a wooden bed with a number of carefully selected artefacts. The grave had been partially robbed and disturbed in the 19th century, so part of the skeleton was missing.

The roundel is a cast openwork disc forming a six petalled flower, with 19 gold and silver repoussé foils, created from seven different designs. Repoussé decoration is produced when thin metal is hammered from the reverse side to create a design. Traces of cherry wood remain behind the roundel. The roundel was an important prestige item. There is possible Christian symbolism in the design. The shape of the gold and silver foils can be arranged to form a Maltese cross, examples of which can be found in Christian Anglo-Saxon jewellery.

The Swallowcliffe finds are featured in this behind the scenes tour on YouTube.

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Of particular significance in the collection are the relics of the ancient guilds of Salisbury.

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