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S-shaped clasps in european Barbaricum

Krzysztof Patalan M.A.

Thanks to the relatively high frequency of changes in the fashion during the Roman and Migration periods, some metal clothing accessories might be sensitive chronological markers. So Goldener Schließhaken aus Sörup in Angelncalled S-clasps belong to this group of objects. The name is derived from characteristic form of those adornments, in the shape of letter “S”. It is believed that they were used as necklaces and bracelet fastenings. Most specimens have been found in women’s graves, throughout the central and north European Barbaricum, in areas associated with Germanic tribes.
The last systematic study of S-clasps took place in the late 1950s. The currently known material shows significant differentiation in form, so the existing classification system is no longer applicable. An enormous increase in the number of finds, as well as new questions of modern archaeology, require a comprehensive study, leading to a monograph. The diversity of S-clasp features might be attributed to regional, chVerbreitungskarte der S-förmige Schließhakenronological or social aspects. Production of the more sophisticated specimens involved using such techniques as granulation and filigree. Hence technological analysis might be an important contribution into research on the early development of goldsmiths’ workshops.
The project involves a broad spectrum of research fields, from antiquarian approaches (typology, chronology, chorology), to the social evaluation of these adornments (social status, material selection, use of precious metals), as well as studies on the methods and technology of ancient goldsmith.    

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