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The evidence for buckles of this period from the 9th-12th century is diverse and consists of examples from hoards, excavations, chance finds and increasingly by the use of metal detectors. The buckles in the accompanying diagrams have been arranged in a typological sequence which it is hoped will be a standard by which future finds will be accurately identified and dated. They have been arranged under three main type headings TYPE I - non-zoomorphic with four sub-types; TYPE II - zoomorphic (decorated with animal features) with three sub-types; and TYPE III - zoomorphic with four sub-types. The typology is specific to this section and any reference made therefore should be in the form of "Saxon Type I" etc.

All copper-alloy unless otherwise stated. All numbers relate to figure 4.

TYPE IA - buckles with undecorated loops (no's 1-3).
Buckles as plain as these are difficult to date in any period, but these at least can be approximately dated by association with other artefacts. Number 1 is from the famous Trewhiddle hoard found in 1774 and deposited on the coin evidence to c872-875AD. It was the only artefact in the hoard not to be made of silver. Numbers 2 and 3 come from the site of Whitby Abbey1 which was founded in 657AD and destroyed by the Danes in 867AD.

TYPE IB - buckles with decorated loops (no's 4-8).
Number 4 is from York2 and is described as Anglo-Danish. It has a chased pattern on the loop and traces of a white-metal coating. Numbers 5 and 6 are again from Whitby with a possible date range of 657-867AD. Number 5 is lightly engraved with a triangular pattern whilst number 6 has a roughly incised pattern on the loop. Number 7 is from the Cuerdale hoard which is dated before 903AD and it has a heavy loop decorated with birds. Number 8 was found by the author on a site which has produced other metalwork of the 9th-11th centuries. It is decorated with "ring-dot" ornament on the loop.

TYPE IC - buckles with moulded decoration on the loop (no's 9-12).
The published evidence for this type comes from Hume3 and is further expanded by Bu'lock4 who argues that the type maybe originated from earlier zoomorphic styles (see fig.2 no's 13-15). A word of caution here - a similar type is also evident in the 13th century although by then the mouldings on the loop are much lighter in form. A date range of 9th-11th century is tentatively suggested.

TYPE ID - buckles made of bone (no's 13-16).
Bone and ivory carving was a highly skilled art in this period - number 16 with its intricate interlace design attests to that skill. It has a bronze tongue and therefore could have been found by a metal detector. Number 13 is from excavations at Goltho, Lincs.5 and from the traces of rust still adhering to it may have had an iron tongue. Numbers 14 and 15 are from York.6 Number 14 is decorated with a triquetra knot.

TYPE IIA - three animal heads (no's 21-25)
This is the first of the zoomorphic types which is characterised by three decorative animal heads (as no's 21 and 22) or two heads biting the bar and a devolved decorative knop on the loop (as no's 23-25). Number 21 was found at Old Sarum in 1817 and dated stylistically to the 9th-11th century. Number 22 (Alan)7 also has three heads and comes from an archaeologically dated context of 1200-1250AD. Number 25 is dated as late as the 14thc (Fingerlin)8 by comparison to a buckle from the mass graves of the Battle of Visby (1361AD). There are however much closer parallels from sources nearer to home. A stray find from Beckhampton (no 24) is of the same type and is dated stylistically to the 12th century. Number 23 is a reconstruction of a broken example from Goltho, Lincs. - a site which has produced other late-Saxon to early-Medieval metalwork. This type therefore has its roots in the late-Saxon period with a possible continuation into the early-Medieval.

TYPE IIB - two animal heads biting bar (no's 26-36)
Examples of this group are the most numerous that have been recorded. Numbers 26-27 and 29-30 are again from Hume and date 9th-11th century. Number 28 was found with a skeleton on Royston Heath9 and dated by its 'Trewhiddle' style to the 9th century. Number 31, excavated on the DMV site at Wharram Percy, and a more decorated example from Lyveden are dated stylistically to the 11th century. Number 32 from Whitby Abbey is a bone example with cresting around the loop. Number 33 is poorly cast in an openwork style reminiscent of the strap-ends of the 10th-11th century. Number 34 is another poorly cast specimen with two animals and a 'blundered' triquetra knot (as no. 14) at the head of the loop and this dates to the 11th century. Numbers 35 and 36 from the Thetford excavations11 have highly stylised zoomorphic decoration.

TYPE IIC - two confronted animal heads on loop (no. 37)
Only one example of this type has been recorded and it was found in the River Witham, Lincs. It now resides in the Alnwick Castle collection where it is dated to the 12th century. The buckle-plate is unusual in having a box-like frame to which is attached a 'winged harpy'. (Note:- I have seen other examples of the type since this article was written).

TYPE IIIA - single head to front with loop and plate cast in one piece (no's 38-39).
Number 38 (Wilson)12 has two rivet holes in a stepped panel for attachment. The tongue is of sheet bronze and is retained in an oval hole in the casting. Number 39 from Chichester is of a similar type but without the stepped panel.

TYPE IIIB - single head to front with separate buckle-plate (no's 40-41).
Number 40 is again from Hume. Number 41 is an evolved example which was found "with 13th century pottery" near Eastbourne and it may therefore be a survival of the type. However it was found with a braid still intact between the buckle-plates of a type that was common around 1000AD. Some later Medieval types may be related to this group.

TYPE IIIC - single head to front of double-loop. (no. 42)
The animal head on this example is very similar to no. 39 but this buckle from Northampton13 has a double loop which is most unusual on such an early buckle.

TYPE IIID - single animal forming loop with head biting bar (no. 43).
The example illustrated was found by the author on a ploughed-out Lincolnshire DMV. It is cast in a very stylised zoomorphic form and has a bronze core with a heavy white-metal coating. The body forms the loop with tail to the left and head biting bar to the right.

1.   Archaeologia 89; 1943
2.   Archaeological Journal 116; 1959
3.   Ancient Meols - Reverend Hume; 1863
4.   Transactions Historical Society of Lancashire 112 - Bu'lock; 1960
5.   Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 6
6.   Archaeologia 97; 1959
7.   Medieval and Post-Medieval Finds From Exeter - Alan; 1984
8.   Gurtel des Hohen und Spaten Mittelalters - Ilse Fingerlin
9.   Victoria County History - Cambridgeshire 1
10. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 8
11. East Anglian Archaeology 22; 1984
12. Catalogue of Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork 700-1100 in the British Museum - Wilson; 1964
13. Northamptonshire Archaeology 16; 1981

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