8th November 1774. Artistry-Medieval Style.

Cultures are a function, as much as anything, of their art and technology with the Anglo-Saxons displaying both to a high degree as we see from artifacts discovered over the centuries.

Today in 1774 miners streaming for tin in Trewhiddle, South Cornwall, uncovered a hoard of 114 Anglo-Saxon gold and silver objects, along with coins mainly from Mercia and Wessex and probably buried against the Vikings in c868.(1)

Chalice and jewellery.

Chalice and jewellery.

The Hoard was collected by Cornish antiquarian Philip Rashleigh with most being presented to the British Museum in 1880.

Many of the artefacts were decorated with stylised Niello animals a feature of Anglo-Saxon ornamentation, since known as Trewhiddle-Style decoration.

Niello from Latin Nigellus (or blackened), is a lustrous, metal alloy of copper, silver (the most popular), and the highly toxic lead, sulphides and like enamel is fused to a metallic base, but tougher. 

Fuller Brooch showing 5 senses

Fuller Brooch showing 5 senses.

It was a practice popular in Anglo-Saxon, and Celtic jewellery where the black sulphide alloy was used in inlay on engraved, chiselled, embossed or etched metal.

Strickland Brooch.

Strickland Brooch.

The Anglo-Saxons loved symbolic puzzles and animal motifs in their metal work which developed in the Mercian Style showing sinuous, interlaced animals, into the lively Trewhiddle Style of the 9th century, and seen above, in the roundels of the Fuller Brooch.(2)

(1) The latest coin is dated 875 in the reign of King Alfred.

(2) The Fuller Brooch named after a Capt. Fuller was once thought to be a fake until the Strickland Brooch was discovered to have a Niello only found in the early middle ages.

References:

regia.org/research/regia-anglorum-non-ferrous-metals.

khanacademy.org/decoding-anglo-saxon-art.

wikipedia.org/niello.

university.langantiques.com.

wikipedia.org/trewhiddle_hoard.

tenthmedieval.wordpress.com/Pics.

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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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