Reproduction Ansate Brooch

A reproduction ansate brooch

A reproduction, copper alloy, ansate brooch based on an example from York. Two copper alloy examples of ansate brooches, also known as equal-armed brooches, were found at 16-22 Coppergate. These brooches are characterised by a narrow arched bow and terminal heads of identical form. The design of the brooches from Coppergate are a variant known as ‘caterpillar’ type. Asnate brooches are dated to between the seventh and ninth centuries though the finds at Coppergate may extend their popularity into the tenth century. The ‘caterpillar’ variety is typically geographically limited to areas bordering the North Sea. The quantity found in England, however, may indicate local manufacture.

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 700 — 900

Ascribed Culture





Viking Objects

Current Location

Private Ownership


Anglo-Saxon, ansate, brooch, copper_alloy, decorative, jewellery, North_Yorkshire, reproduction, women, York

Further information

You can see the original at Private Ownership.

This object is related to York, North Yorkshire.
Find out about York, North Yorkshire.


Made by Adam Parsons of Blueaxe Reproductions


Mainman, Ailsa J., and Nicola SH Rogers. Craft, industry and everyday life: finds from Anglo-Scandinavian York. Vol. 17.  (York: Council for British Archaeology, 2000), p. 2570-1.

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