Archaeologists baffled by mysterious Anglo-Saxon artefact

Elaborate pattering adorns the tiny object with a horse-like outline looking back over its shoulder - ANDREW WILLIAMS/NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Elaborate pattering adorns the tiny object with a horse-like outline looking back over its shoulder – ANDREW WILLIAMS/NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL© Provided by The Telegraph

A mysterious Anglo-Saxon object has been unearthed that is “completely unlike” any other artefact discovered, an expert has said.

Detectorists in Norfolk found the gilded silver relic, which is 19.4mm in diameter with intricate designs depicting a stylised animal looking over its shoulder.

Archaeologists baffled by mysterious Anglo-Saxon artefact

Despite the skill which would have been required to make it, the roughly 1,200-year-old object has no apparent purpose and remains a mystery to archaeologists.

Dr Helen Geake, Norfolk’s finds liaison officer, who is also an expert on television show Time Team, believes the ornate trinket reveals the skill of Anglo-Saxon craftsmen.

She told the BBC: “It was made by someone with a real eye for loveliness.

“It’s so tiny and yet it was created just as carefully as something like a Bible or piece of jewellery.”

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The mysterious object was found in a crumpled condition, but is round with shallow sides forming a dish-like shape.

Elaborate pattering similar to the insular geometric design on the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells adorn the tiny object, and a stylised horse-like outline on the “top” of the piece is shown looking back over its shoulder.