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Rare Anglo-Saxon pendant goes on display

Dorset Museum in Dorchester has acquired a rare gold and rock crystal pendant dating to the 6th or 7th century AD. It was found by detectorists Charles Bullock and Stuart Robinson in 2019 near Milton Abbas, Dorset. It was recorded at the PAS as DOR-FD9BE6 and later declared Treasure and valued at £10,000.

The pendant is sub-triangular in form and consists of a gold frame which encloses a piece of rock crystal. The composite construction is unusual, with echoes of manufacturing methods spanning the late Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. The convex shape of the rock crystal slightly magnifies objects, such as text, and the PAS record speculates that this might have been its purpose. This type of pendant is unknown in Dorset, and rare elsewhere. Hence, it was designated a Find of Note of Regional Importance.

Dorset Museum received grants from the Arts Council England/Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, and the Headley Museums Archaeological Acquisition Fund, to help finance the purchase the object. Dorset Museum is planning to display the item in its People’s Dorset gallery. Elizabeth Selby, interim director at Dorset Museum, said: “We are thrilled to have been able to acquire this rare and special item for the museum’s collections.

Bryan Phillips, a member of Milton Abbas Local History Group, commented “The pendant adds enormously to our knowledge of the history of this amazing place, but also raises many more questions which we would love to have answers to. We can’t wait to see the pendant on display in Dorset Museum.

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