The Sutton Hoo Great Gold Buckle

February 28, 2024

This gold belt buckle is a masterpiece of early medieval craftsmanship, made using over 400g of gold with an intricate decoration of intertwining creatures inlaid with niello (a black metal alloy). This type of animal ornament was popular with many Germanic-speaking peoples at the time. Sutton Hoo Treasure, 7th century AD

The Sutton Hoo Great Gold Buckle (Illustration) - World History Encyclopedia

The Great Gold Buckle from the Sutton Hoo Ship-burial Mound 1, England, UK. Early Anglo-Saxon, early 7th century.

The British Museum, London.

Its form with curved sides and 3 domed bosses resembles Frankish buckles. The plate is a hollow box that opens at the back and locks using 3 movable sliders. Buckles with similar mechanisms are known from the Frankish realm and other parts of the Continent. They probably contained Christian relics, and perhaps the Sutton Hoo buckle held something precious too. Made using over 400 grams of gold, its intricate decoration shows 13 intertwining creatures inlaid with niello (a black metal alloy). The Sutton Hoo buckle is a superlative example of this type of animal ornament, which was popular with many Germanic people at that time.

About the Author

Sutton Hoo and Europe | British Museum

Associate Professor of Neurology and lover of the Cradle of Civilization, Mesopotamia. I’m very interested in Mesopotamian history and always try to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world.