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Germanic Two-Plate Bow Fibulae / Blechfibeln

These fibulae are also known as Blechfibeln (German for sheet, or sheet--bow, fibulae), Slavic bow fibula (despite the fact that they are not Slavic in origin, though they were used by some early Slavs), and a host of other names.

Germanic Bow Fibulae with Triangular Head Plate

No Knobs

Dates:  5th c AD

Distribution: Lombard, others

Three Knobs

Typology:  Stanev 1.1.2 group

Dates:  AD  420/430 - 480, some lasted into mid-6th century.

Distribution:  Chernyakhov culture / Goths; East Germans, including Gepids.

Notes:  Main types are Bratei type (Stanev with diamond shaped foot (AD 420/430 - 480); Viskov type (Stanev with trapezoidal foot and very triangular head (AD 445/450 - 480).

Image:  This Bratei type fibula has a triangular head-plate with three flat knobs and a plain foot with a simple knob.  It is made of a brass-like alloy.  It is likely Ostrogothic.  (SC collection)

Image:  Reverse of the above fibula.  The remains of the four-wind iron spring can be seen on the reverse of the head-plate.  The iron pin is complete.  A narrow, tall catch is on the reverse of the foot.  (SC collection)

Germanic Bow Fibulae with Semi-Circular Head Plate

with One Knob

Typology:  Stanev 1.1.1 group

Dates:  AD 430/450 - 460/470

Distribution:  Middle and lower Danube.

with Three Knobs

Typology:  Stanev 1.2.2 group and Stanev Kormadin-Yakovo type.

Dates: c. AD 450/475 - 525, some into 7th century.

Distribution:  Gepid; Chernyakhov culture / Goths.

Image:  Though this fibula, which is broken at the bow, has a semi-circular head-plate with three small knobs, it is closer to the one knob type (Stanev in form.  There is zig-zag engraving on the edge of the head-plate.  The foot is plain with no foot knob.  This example likely dates to AD 450 - 470 and is likely Ostrogothic.  (SC collection)

Image:  Reverse of the above fibula.  The remains of the iron spring are present, though the catch has broken off and the pin is missing.   (SC collection)

Image:  Small blech fibula with three knobs on semi-circular head plate.  Very similar to the Krefeld type below but lacks the lateral "caterpillar" and animal head motifs on the foot.  (Quadrans collection.)

Krefeld Type

Typology:  Krefeld type, Stanev

Dates:  AD 470 - 490

Distribution:  Middle and lower Danube.  Northern Serbia and northern Bulgaria.  Ostrogothic, likely Theodoric's tribes.

Notes:  Small fibula with half-round head with three knobs and chip-carved radiate design, straight narrow foot with lateral "caterpillar" ridges and usually an animal head foot.

Image:  A Krefeld type fibula.  Note the animal head design of the foot.  The reverse shows rust traces from the iron spring.  (Quadrans collection)

Image:  A Krefeld type fibula.  Smaller variation.  (Quadrans collection)

with Five Knobs

Typology:  Stanev 1.2.1 group.

Dates:  c. AD 465/475 - 540/560, flourish 480 - 520, some survived till end of 6th century.

Distribution:  Danube; Gepid; Merovingian, early Anglo-Saxon.

Notes:  Several variants including Domolshnusta/Bachordas type (Stanev (with five-sided foot with side knobs; AD 465/476 - 490-500); Szekszard-Palank/Sokolnice type (Stanev (with trapezoidal foot with six side knobs; AD 480-510/520); Gepidic type (Stanev (with diamond foot with three knobs; AD 500 - 550); Emlia/Udine type (Stanev (like Gepidic with with animal head foot; AD 500 - 520).

Image:  These Germanic bow fibulae with semi-circular head plate with five knobs are Anglo-Saxon, but show the general form of the type.  From The Industrial Arts of the Anglo-Saxons (1893).

Germanic Bow Fibulae with Rectangular Head Plate

Typology:  Stanev 1.3.1, King's Field (for Anglo-Saxon variant)

Dates:  Some sources date introduction of the the type as early as c. AD 375.  However, c. 520 - 560/580 is more likely.

Distribution:  Scandinavia, northern/Elbe Germans, some use by Gepids.

Image:  This small blech fibula of unknown type might be a variant of the rectangular head plate type.  (Quadrans collection.)

Germanic Bow Fibulae with Lozenge Plates

Typology:  Pra-Levice type, Stanev

Dates:  c. AD 450-500.  Flourished AD 450 - 475.

Distribution:  used by Gepids and East Gothic tribes.  Found in Danube region, Hungary, and Slovakia.

Notes:  Triangular form head plate, usually with end knob, and diamond form foot plate.  Usually has a simple form of kurbschnitt (chip-carved) decoration.

    Germanic Bow Fibulae with Bird Heads

    Typology:  There are many different types.  The type with four bird heads on the waist is Werner I-C

    Dates:  6th - 7th c AD, flourished AD 550 - 625.

    Distribution:  Dnieper to Danube.  Associated with Gepids and early Slavs, but likely used by some non-Gepidic east Germanic tribes as well.