Find of the week: Bulky Buckle

One of our recent blog posts discussed the removal of a mortar floor surface in the northwest corner of Trench 3 at Bamburgh Castle. This surface has been a fixture in the trench for quite some time, so everyone was hoping for great finds from fill underneath. We were not disappointed. Amongst the usual artefacts of animal bone, shell, and charcoal we recovered the find of the week: a bulky iron buckle. Personal items such as this are a rarity in our trenches and there has been quite a bit of excitement surrounding its discovery.

The corroded buckle was recovered in situ by one of our students Isabelle and it has been dated as Early Medieval due to its context and association with Anglo Saxon pottery found nearby.


At a hefty 85 grams and measuring 7×6 centimetres, this isn’t a delicate fastening, but a seriously sturdy buckle that might have been worn in conjunction with vocational clothing. Though it’s possible that the iron corrosion hides some ornamental elements, at this time the buckle appears to be unadorned or missing its decorative portion. Because it’s fashioned from iron rather than a more precious metal it’s likely the buckle was utilitarian in nature and not a part of a high status wardrobe. Even if it didn’t belong to King Oswald, this latest find from Trench 3 is a very interesting artefact and we’re looking forward to seeing what additional finds are recovered from this area of the trench.

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