Curtis Museum, Alton

The Alton Buckle

The Alton Buckle is currently on loan to the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) for their display of ‘Golden Middle Ages’. The exhibition has taken exquisite pieces from around the globe to be displayed together, with over 500 pieces in total having been collected. This runs from the 25 of April until the 26 of October.

The buckle is expected to be returned to Alton in November 2014. A replica is being sourced at present which should be on display in the Curtis Museum soon, along with more detailed information on the history of the buckle, it’s discovery and the Anglo-Saxon craftsmanship used to create it.

The Anglo Saxon buckle from Grave 16 of the Mount Pleasant Anglo-Saxon cemetery found during excavations in 1959-61.

A silver gilt body with sub-triangular shape, filigree wire and niello, set with cloisionne garnets and glass. The centre panel of semi zoomorphic design is gold filigree on a gold repousse base. The buckle shows signs of considerable use and wear, the two silver gilt bars being ancient repairs.

Alton Buckle

The buckle was found in the grave of an Anglo-Saxon warrior with a sword, shield boss, spear heads and numerous small items.

It is the finest piece of Anglo-Saxon craftmanship to have been found in Hampshire, and is amongst the most beautiful and accomplished Anglo-Saxon pieces to have been found outside the famous Sutton Hoo burial.

Buckles like this were worn by men and used to fasten a belt worn around the waist or hips during the 6th and 7th centuries.