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Mysterious Anglo-Saxon object discovered in Norfolk


Experts have been left baffled by a recently discovered mysterious Anglo-Saxon object.

The item that was "made by someone with a real eye for loveliness" has been uncovered in Norfolk.

The ornate silver item was found by a metal detectorist near Langham, a small village about 30 miles from Norwich.

It measured just 0.7 inch (19.4mm) in diameter and is believed to depict an animal, most likely a horse, looking over its shoulder.

Historian Helen Geake told the BBC: "It's so tiny and yet it was created just as carefully as something like a Bible or piece of jewellery.

"It has got a backward-looking animal, possibly a horse, that fills the space nicely and I love its colour.

"A lot of the time we don't see the colours of the past because clothes don't survive and enamels drop out of settings.'

She added that the elaborate lines were reminiscent of the famous religious Book Of Kells and that it most likely dates to the late 8th or early 9th century.

Professor of medieval history and archaeology at the University of Oxford John Blair said 'there are various possibilities' of what it might be.

He said: "'My own best guess is that they are caps from the butt-ends of wooden knife handles, covering the hammered-over end of the blade tang,"

Dr Geake added: "It's a mysterious object and you can't say what kind of thing it's off at all.

"But it was made by someone with a real eye for loveliness."

The spirals are also recognisable from the Lindisfarne Gospel, another famous manuscript produced around AD 715–720.

This suggests that the find has some kind of religious significance and may have been worn as jewellery.

However, the item doesn't look like something that would traditionally be worn around the neck.

Gold and silver necklaces were rare and worn by women of high ranking.