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Belt plate

Medieval, probably late 14th or 15th century.

A banded plate of copper alloy. A solid folded sheet of gilded copper alloy, decorated on the top edge. There is a small hole in the center of the fold, indicating that it is a buckle rather than the end of a strap. There is some leather preserved inside the plate. The decoration on the upper edge consists of dots at the top and bottom, connected at the end of the fold by a row of convex cable ornaments. The other end has a notch in which iron rivets securing the leather inside the plate form an important element, and the end is marked by a convex arch. The field has decorative hatching within the ridges.

Found during excavations in the 1970s by the Archaeology Section of the Winchester Museum Service at Victoria Road, Winchester, Hampshire.

This dress fitting came from a time when many people could afford to wear such elaborately decorated objects because they began to be produced in large quantities and were therefore cheaper than before. The surface of the plate was gilded, and originally it was supposed to look pure gold.