The Morvah Hoard

Bronze Age, 1000-800 BC
From Cairn Morvah, Morvah, Cornwall, England

East meets West in Late Bronze Age Cornwall

These six gold bracelets were found in 1884 during quarrying for building materials at Morvah, on the north-western coast of the Penwith peninsula in Cornwall.

In design, the bracelets bring together two traditions of Bronze Age ornament. The three with 'cupped', or hollowed terminals are distinctly Irish in style; over thirty examples of this type are known from Ireland, while only ten come from Britain. These examples, like many of this type, have a hollow band with a join along the inner curve. They are also decorated with finely executed incised lines. In two cases it is confined to the terminals, but the third has neat geometric panels at intervals around the band.

By contrast the three simpler bracelets are British in style. The two with flat ribbon-like bands have different terminals, coiled on one, buffer-like on the other. Both these and the lozenge-sectioned bracelet are types predominant in southern Britain, with only rare examples from Ireland.

Such East-West associations are not confined to the Irish Sea coasts, but the western tip of Cornwall nevertheless is a fitting place for these styles of different origins to come together.

Find in the collection online

More information


D.R. Hook, and S.P. Needham, 'A comparison of recent analyses of British Late Bronze Age goldwork with Irish parallels', Jewellery Studies-4, 3 (1990), pp 15-24

G. Eogan, The accomplished art: gold and (Oxford, Oxbow, 1994)


Diameter: 6.800 cm (min.)
Diameter: 6.800 cm (min.)
Weight: 53.000 g (min.)
Weight: 53.000 g (min.)

Museum number

P&E PRB 1885 6-13 1-6



Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore