Brighstone sword pommel
On 7th March 2018, at Brighstone on the Isle of Wight, a metal detectorist discovered an Anglo-Saxon sword pommel, dating to the
late 6th or early 7th century. It was registered with the Portable Antiquities Scheme and identified by them as an object of importance and as 'Treasure'. As such, local museums were notified and given the opportunity to buy the pommel but, sadly, none of them took the offer up.
Why, we don't know. Possibly a lack of funds or possibly because those contacted did not understand it's significance. Because it is significant. Not only is it a beautiful object in it's own right, solid silver with punched decoration and extensive gilding but it is also a very rare example of a sword pommel with runes carved onto both of it's faces by it's owner.
With no interest from museums, it was disclaimed as Treasure and returned to the finder who, in turn, has put it up for auction. So, there is now a very real chance that this important object will disappear into a private collection where it will languish without being studied.
Our objective is to raise enough money to buy the pommel at auction on 26th February 2019, make an accurate study of it and produce a detailed description and a set of high definition photographs. We will then place the object with a museum, where it can be appreciated by all who come to see it.
Everyone who contributes will get their name into the list of donors, regardless of whether we're successful or not. If we do win then you'll also be given access to all the high definition images that are taken of the sword pommel as part of the study.
Mr Roper (maker of things of beauty and general Nibelung) observed that one end of the pommel cap showed signs of modification. Looking at the large photos available on PAS, I also noticed a distinctive wear pattern on one end only. Look at the first photo, That shows that the pommel was modified at some stage to accommodate an object with curved section.
Hmmm....wonder what that might have been?
Looking back into the PAS archives, I discovered that back in 2005 (13 years before the pommel was found), a type 1a ring assembly was discovered in the same field! It's gilded silver, like the pommel and, in terms of overall appearance, it would complement it nicely.
From the photos of the ring, you can see that the side which would have been adjacent to the pommel also has a distinctive feature. I'm now trying to track down the owner of this ring (like the pommel, it was disclaimed by the Crown and returned) so that we can see if they fit together.
Stopping this item from being lost to a private collection just became even more important.
I'll hopefully be talking to the press on Monday.
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