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Hinged brass collar


Diameter: 12.200 cm

P&EE 1963 4-7 1

Room 50: Britain and Europe

    Hinged brass collar

    Iron Age or Roman, AD 50-150
    From Britain

    A distinctive collar worn by a Briton at the time of the Roman Conquest

    This is an unusual ornament which was worn around the neck. It has a hinge that allows the collar to be opened so that it can be put on. The collar is decorated in the distinctive style of La Tène Celtic art found on many metal objects made in Britain at the end of the Iron Age. The decoration is repeated as almost exact mirror-images on each arm. The basic pattern was cast in the mould as the two parts of the collar were made. Afterwards, a fine metal tool was used to engrave a stipple outline around the design and to fill in the background in some areas. Finally, twenty-six shallow holes were drilled into the metal. These would have been filled with perhaps glass or another colourful material. Unfortunately, these circular inlays have not survived. Red enamel alternating with another colour, possibly white, does survive in the two lines of triangular cells.

    The collar was cast in brass - an alloy made by mixing copper and zinc. Brass is a Roman metal and many Iron Age objects made from brass must have used metal from the Roman world that was melted down. This suggests that the object was made when the Romans were conquering most of Britain. It might have been made and worn in Roman times by a person who wanted an ornament that was distinctly native and not Roman in style.

    M. MacGregor, Early Celtic Art in North Brit (Leicester University Press, 1976)


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