Probably much of the base as well as the precious metal of
the Anglo-Saxon jeweller and metalsmith was obtained from the Roman
This inlay technique, especially when it occurs on buckles,
such as that from grave 29, has been conventionally dismissed as
"Frankish imported". An insular school for this type of work
has, however, been argued for recently1 and a good deal of
evidence produced by X-ray photography to show that this work is, in fact,
more common in England than was at first thought. There is no doubt that
the technique was also practised in Merovingian Gaul and, although it is
possible to parallel the Lyminge spearhead inlay on only two other
examples2, both from this country, only more extensive X-ray
photography of corroded specimens in museums on both sides of the channel
will determine the true provenance of the Lyminge spearhead.
It is inevitable that amongst such an imposing array of
grave furniture as that found in Lyminge the exotic and highly decorated
objects should present conflicting chronological pictures. A less
confusing and more reliable estimate of the date of the cemetery may be
gained from those objects which are not of great intrinsic value, but yet
have sufficient morphological characteristics for their chronological
sequence to be determined. Such a group of
is that of the buckles and the Lyminge cemetery has produced a good
yield of these.
In all 19 buckles were found. Of these 11 were in the
graves of men and 5 in the graves of women. A careful check was kept on
the positions of these but apparently sex did not determine whether a
belt was fastened from the left or from the right. In most cases the way
in which the belt was joined to the buckle and to the attachment-plate
was established. Eighteen of the Lyminge buckles are in a condition
worthy of illustration (Figs. 8 and 9, and Pl. IX and Pl.
All of these consist of a simple oval loop, sometimes with a stem of
reduced thickness, and all except three of the tongues (graves 12, 23
and 42) are plain. Some show a characteristic thickening of the tongue
at its base but three alone have shields (graves 12, 23 and 42) and
these are only slightly developed. The majority of the buckles fall,
then, into a group discussed by Aberg3 and placed by him in
the latter half of the sixth century A.D. The Style 1 decorated
attachment-plate from grave 1 is what one would expect to find with
buckles of this type4. The absence
1. Miss Vera I. Evison "Early Anglo-Saxon Inlaid
Metalwork", Antiquaries Journal, Vol. XXXV, p. 21.
2. ibid., p. 24.
3. N. Aberg, The Anglo-Saxons in England, p. 117.
4. For further examples see ibid, p. 118.