c. AD 475
Undley, Lakenheath


This gold bracteate, dating from around AD 475, was found in 1981. The design is based on a Roman coin of the 330s, but the runic inscription may be the earliest writing in the English language – though the meaning is not very clear. It may read '[this] she-wolf [to a] kinsman [for a] reward'.

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This remarkable object is now in the British Museum:


Further reading

West, S.E., 'A gold bracteate from Undley', Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology & History vol. XXXVI pt. 1, 1985, 37.

Hines, J. and Odemstedt, B., 'The Undley bracteate and its runic inscription', Studien zur Sachsenforschungen vol. 6, 1987, 73-94