A rare Saxon 6th Century pendant made from a Byzantine gold solidus

Found by Godfrey Pratt

This is the story of a rare Saxon 6th Century pendant made from a Byzantine gold solidus, found by the club’s very own Chairman, Godfrey Pratt on one of his Norfolk permissions. When Godfrey first saw the pendant in the soil, he thought it might be a gold coloured bottle top, but he soon realised what he had found was much more significant and took these initial photographs whilst still on site.

The find was picked up by the media. You can see the article by the BBC here and you can listen to the BBC radio interview with Godfrey:
It has also been recorded on the PAS and here is an excerpt from that report:

Early Saxon gold pendant mounted with a gold solidus of Justinian, struck at Constantinople (4th workshop of the mint) between 527 and 538.

The coin is: Obverse D N IVSTINI_ANVS P P [AVG], helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, shield on left shoulder, right hand holding cross on globe, reverse [VICTORI]_A AVGGG [delta], Victory standing facing holding long cross and globe, mintmark CONOB, weight 5.78g.

The coin has been mounted within a plain circular frame with an interior border formed of many small teeth. Over this has been soldered (at 12 o’clock relative to the reverse figure but at 6 o’clock relative to the obverse bust) a suspension loop with five longitudinal ribs, the central one the widest, and the exterior ones progressively narrowing.

The mounting as pendants of late Roman and Byzantine gold coins as jewellery during the sixth century was common and this coin pendant closely parallels others found in Britain. It has seen some wear but this probably occurred during its second life as a pendant rather than as a coin. The date of reuse would have been circa 550-600.

The British Museum’s photographs of the find


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