Friendly correspondent Peter Woods is working with chapes or ferrules, that is, metal mounts from the ends of knife sheaths or sword scabbards. He has sent me lovely images of these things in the hope that Aard’s readers might be able to suggest parallels. Neither of the finds has any solid provenance, and though I believe them to be from north-west Europe and date from the 11th/12th centuries, I’ve never seen anything quite like them in my work with Scandinavian small finds. Being fragile yet excellently preserved, they’re almost certainly grave finds, not metal detector finds from plough soil. Note how the first three depict a quadruped animal looking back over its shoulder.
So, Dear Reader, where in the world and where in history do these intriguing things belong?
Update 24 June: Here’s the available provenance info, such as it is. A&B: a Dutch antique dealer says that the family of a long dead collector says that he had been told that they came from southern Sweden. 32 is from east Kent in south-east England. 12 is from north-east England where a small number of similar ones have been found.