The Sutton Hoo Shoulder-clasps

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Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
published on 12 May 2016

Gold shoulder-clasps from Sutton Hoo, Ship-burial Mound 1, England, UK. Late 500s to early 600s.

The British Museum, London.

The shoulder-clasps would have displayed the power and authority of their wearer. They are similar in style to those used in older Roman forms of military dress, and were attached to a thick or padded garment using loops at the back. Made in 2 halves, each clasp is decorated with cells inlaid with garnets and patterned millefiori glass. They are hinged around a central animal-headed pin and curved to fit the shoulder. Setting gems on a curved surface like this required extraordinary skill. Interlacing serpents with blue-glass eyes border the clasps' edges, while 2 interlocking boars (symbols of strength and courage) decorate the rounded ends.

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About the Author

Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin
Associate Professor of Neurology and lover of the Cradle of Civilization, Mesopotamia. I'm very interested in Mesopotamian history and always try to take photos of archaeological sites and artifacts in museums, both in Iraq and around the world.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Amin, O. S. M. (2016, May 12). The Sutton Hoo Shoulder-clasps. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Amin, Osama Shukir Muhammed. "The Sutton Hoo Shoulder-clasps." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 12, 2016.

MLA Style

Amin, Osama Shukir Muhammed. "The Sutton Hoo Shoulder-clasps." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 12 May 2016. Web. 22 Mar 2023.