Length: 13.200 cm
Width: 4.650 cm
Room 57-59: Ancient Levant
Gold bracelet or diadem
Phoenician, 7th-6th century BC
From Tharros, Sardinia
Fine Phoenician craftsmanship
This diadem or bracelet was found in a rich tomb at Tharros on the island of Sardinia, which also contained other amulets and jewellery. Such rich graves in the Tharros cemetery demonstrate the wealth of this important Phoenician trading centre. The jewellery, with its mixture of influences, demonstrates Phoenician connections across the Mediterranean. There are no known exact parallels for this piece but the lotus flower is typical of Phoenician style, influenced by Egypt. Technically the diadem is very accomplished, with particularly fine use of granulation (the application of tiny globules of gold) - a technique that had been developed much earlier in the Canaanite homeland.
From around 1000 BC Canaanite territory was restricted to the northern Levant coast. This area was known to the Greeks as Phoenicia. It was to the sea that the Phoenicians turned to provide the basis of their economy. In the eighth century BC permanent colonies were established on Sardinia. One of the most important was Tharros, which remained a major trading centre through the Roman period
The tombs discovered at Tharros were chambers reached by a short passage and a few steps. There were often niches cut in the walls, containing additional burials. The body was provided with amulets and personal objects and laid on its back with feet towards the east. Written spells and gifts invoked the god's protection.
R.D. Barnett and C. Mendleson (eds), Tharros: a catalogue of materi (London, The British Museum Press, 1987)
J.N. Tubb, Canaanites (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)