Blog January 5th 2015

Viking lozenge brooch with an interlaced circle.

A mysterious lozenge brooch, a question unanswered and a equally rare lozenge brooch type also found in England..

This week I'd like to tell some more about a specific type of Viking Age brooches: the so called 'lozenge brooch'.

The openwork lozenge brooch, with a raised central rosette and four arms terminating in impulded Borre-style animal heads, is a 9th century Scandinavian brooch type wich is found with some frequency in the eastern countries of England. Within Scandinavia, it is found mainly in the area of Viking-Age Denmark.

The lozenge brooch on the images above is of a rare type, because of it's open design and interlaced circle execution. Showing this example to Jane Kershaw, as she had written a truly magnificent book on Scandinavian-style jewellry from England, she reacted to me:

"...The lozenge brooch is highly unusual in its openwork design. The description says 11thC, but it will be late 9th or early 10thC, as the terminal heads are still in the Borre style. I wonder if the cross had a religious significance? There is only one other one like it, a metal-detector find from Denmark".

I have addressed the question to the National Museum of Denmark, to find the reference to the metal detector find mentioned, but did not receive a reaction. I have asked Jane Kershaw if she could help me on this further. If so, I will add this information.

On the images beneath, a more common known type of viking lozenge brooch can be seen. Although somewhat abraised, one can determine this brooch to the Type II A lozenge brooch, as can be compared to an image in the book by Jane Kershaw: Viking identities; Scandinavian jewellry in England on p. 49 fig. 3.6 found in Hasketon, Suffolk.

The lozenge brooch from Hasketon are likely to represent a Scandinavian lozenge-brooch variant not yet known from Scandinavia.

Whatever form it is: a rare type of viking brooch, not commonly known ! Apart from the given typology by Xaroline Paterson (see reference), there is no established typology for the lozenge brooches, a reflection of the young age of the excisiting corpus.

See for references:

Jane Kershaw: Viking identities; Scandinavian jewellry in England (2013) p. 43 - 49, Lozenge brooches

Kevin Leahy and Caroline Paterson: New light on the Viking presence in Lincolnshire: The artefactual evidence (1993).

Annemarieke Willemsen: Vikingen ! Overvallen in het stroomgebied van Rijn en Maas, 800 - 1000 (2004) p. 27. Reconstruction of male viking dress with similar lozenge brooch, on the photo of the reconstruction used on the tunique.

Brett Hammond, British artefacts Volume 2 - Middle Saxon and Viking, p.46, fig. 1.1.6-f and fif. 1.1.6-g. (2010)

Also see website Portable Antiques Scheme for similarlike lozenge brooches: