Diameter: 11.500 cm (internal)
Weight: 1730.000 g
Gift of Lord and Lady Willoughby d'Eeasby
Room 50: Britain and Europe
Massive brass armlet
Iron Age or Roman, AD 50-200
From Pitkelloney Farm, Muthill, Perthshire, Scotland
A distinctive local style of costume
This is one of a pair of massive armlets, similar to those from Castle Newe, also in the British Museum. Only 21 of this type have been found, 20 of them in north-eastern Scotland. This suggests that this was a special type of object that was only made and worn by people in this part of Britain. Although they are usually called Iron Age armlets, most were probably made between AD 43 and 200. By this time England and southern Scotland were part of the Roman Empire; north-eastern Scotland was never fully conquered.
The one armlet not found in Scotland was found in Ireland. It was probably made in north-eastern Scotland, and reached Ireland perhaps as a gift, or on the arm of a Scottish woman or man.
The armlet was made of brass (an alloy of copper and zinc), not bronze (copper and tin). Brass was commonly used in the Roman world at this time. The armlet was made with great skill: cast in its finished form, rather than being cast flat and then twisted to form the hoop. The circular terminals have separate discs ornamented with a petal design in red and yellow enamel.
M. MacGregor, Early Celtic Art in North Brit (Leicester University Press, 1976)