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cape

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1972,0601.4

  • Description

    Gold cape fragment. The small triangular piece of beaten sheet gold is decorated with one large boss surrounded by small pointillé dots.The fragment has not been incorporated in the Mold Gold Cape.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1900BC-1600BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 13.81 millimetres
    • Width: 6.44 millimetres
    • Thickness: 0.1 millimetres
    • Weight: 0.1 grammes (Less than 0.1g)
  • Curator's comments

    The Mold Gold Cape was found in 1833 by workmen quarrying for stone in a burial mound. At the centre of the mound there was a stone-lined grave with the crushed gold cape around the fragmentary remains of a skeleton. Strips of bronze and many amber beads were also recovered, but only one of the beads reached the British Museum (1852,0615.1).

    The cape would have been unsuitable for everyday wear because it would have severely restricted upper arm movement. Instead it would have served ceremonial roles, and may have denoted religious authority.
    The cape is one of the finest examples of prehistoric sheet-gold working and is quite unique in form and design. It was laboriously beaten out of a single ingot of gold, and then embellished with intense decoration of ribs and bosses to mimic multiple strings of beads amid folds of cloth. Perforations along the upper and lower edges indicate that it was once attached to a lining, perhaps of leather, which has decayed. The bronze strips may have served to strengthen the adornment further.

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Powell 1953 bibliographic details
    • Needham 2000 bibliographic details
    • Needham 2012 bibliographic details
    • Murgia et al 2014 1.10.11 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    2013 7 Aug-14 Sep, Wrexham, Wrexham Museum, Spotlight: The Mold Gold Cape
    2013 2 Jul-4 Aug, Cardiff, National Museum of Wales, Spotlight: The Mold Gold Cape

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1972

  • Acquisition notes

    These four small fragments were purchased from Mrs D.M. Kerr, Basingstoke. In a letter dated 31st January 1972 she stated that the fragments 'belonged to my mother, Mrs Davies Edwards of Mold and were dug up on her ancestors land'. Parts of the Mold gold cape and associated artefacts from the site came to the British Museum at intervals between 1836 and 1972 though the fragments acquired after 1836 were all small. Four gold sheet fragments from the cape were presented to the Grosvenor Museum, Chester by Mr George Lowe in 1953. They were loaned to the British Museum 1966-1987. One fragment belongs to the cape though the other three appear to relate to fragments 1836.0902.2-3 which may be a distinct object.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1972,0601.4

Gold sheet.  Decorated fragment of Mold Gold Cape. Fragment of band with single line of large bosses, from lowest row of bands.

Gold sheet. Decorated fragment of Mold Gold Cape. Fragment of band with single line of large bosses, from lowest row of bands.

Image description

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Object reference number: BCB85796

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