Fragment of an Equal-Armed Brooch (SWYOR-FAFC04)

Central boss from an equal-armed brooch found in Harworth Bircotes, Nottinghamshire

A fragment of a Viking Age equal-armed brooch found at Harworth Bircotes, Nottinghamshire. This fragment is the boss of the brooch and resembles brooches found at Birka, Sweden. Its decoration consists of a Borre style animal with gripping arms or legs.  This is one of only six Scandinavian, Viking period equal-armed brooches recorded in England.

Brooches were a typical part of female dress. Scandinavian brooches came in a variety of sizes and shapes which included disc, trefoil, lozenge, equal-armed, and oval shapes. The different brooch types served a variety of functions in Scandinavian female dress with oval brooches typically being used as shoulder clasps for apron-type dresses and the rest being used to secure an outer garment to an inner shift. Anglo-Saxon brooches do not match this diversity of form with large disc brooches being typical of ninth century dress styles with smaller ones becoming more popular in the later ninth and tenth centuries. However, since disc brooches were used by both Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian women they are distinguished by their morphology. Scandinavian brooches were typically domed with a hollow back while Anglo-Saxon brooches were usually flat. Moreover, Anglo-Saxon brooches were worn singly without accompanying accessories.

Object Type



circa 900 — 1000


Ascribed Culture





Viking Objects

Current Location

Private Ownership


Birka, Borre, brooch, copper_alloy, gilded, Harworth, Nottinghamshire, Portable_Antiquities_Scheme, Sweden, Viking, women

Further information

You can see the original at Private Ownership.

This object is related to Harworth, Nottinghamshire.
Find out about Harworth, Nottinghamshire.


(c) Portable Antiquities Scheme, CC BY-SA 4.0


Portable Antiquities Scheme

Kershaw, Jane F. Viking identities: Scandinavian jewellery in England. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 20-25.