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Treasure hunter who unearthed Winfarthing pendant discovers rare 800 year old brooch

PUBLISHED: 14:57 05 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:57 05 May 2019

Archaeology student Tom Lucking with some of his finds.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archaeology student Tom Lucking with some of his finds. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A rare brooch dating back around 800 years could join the Winfarthing pendant on display at Norwich Castle Museum after being declared treasure.

The brooch is thought to date back 800 years. Picture: Portable Antiquities SchemeThe brooch is thought to date back 800 years. Picture: Portable Antiquities Scheme

Archeologist and UEA graduate Tom Lucking hit headlines in 2014 when he unearthed a seventh century haul of Anglo-Saxon gold in a grave buried at a field in Winfarthing.

New he has struck treasure again, after discovering a silver gilt brooch dating from the 11th or 12th centuries in a field near Wymondham.

The brooch was found last September and features two lions with two inlaid pink stones.

The Winfarthing collection became nationally significant after being found near Diss five years ago.

Archaeology student Tom Lucking.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYArchaeology student Tom Lucking. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

It included a necklace made up of two gold beads, two pendants made from identical Merovingian coins and a gold cross pendant inlaid with delicate filigree wire.

But most remarkable was a large pendant worn lower down on the woman's chest. Made of gold, it has hundreds of tiny garnets inlaid into it, with interlacing beasts and geometrical shapes.

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It was valued at more than £145,000 and was saved for the city after an appeal by the Friends of Norwich Museums.

The Winfarthing pendant. Pic: Norfolk Museums Service.The Winfarthing pendant. Pic: Norfolk Museums Service.

Last year it was voted the nation's favourite art work acquired by a museum in 2018.

Mr Lucking takes out his metal detector as a hobby, and his most recent find was brought before the Norfolk coroner last week where it was declared to be treasure.

Any finds believed to be more than 300 years old must be declared.

Mr Lucking told the BBC: “When I first broke it out of the mud, I just saw the back of it but I turned it over and saw the settings.

A treasure emerges: The stunning Anglo-Saxon pendant emerges from the Norfolk mud.A treasure emerges: The stunning Anglo-Saxon pendant emerges from the Norfolk mud.

“I sat there and just admired it for a bit. It's that satisfaction that comes from finding something that special.”

The BBC reported senior coroner Jacquline Lake said Norwich Castle Museum has already expressed an interest in buying the brooch, where it could join the Winfarthing pendant.

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