Collection online

strip / ornament

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2008,8019.1

  • Description

    A long, cigar shaped strip of beaten sheet gold with squared off terminals. At either end is a set of three small perforations set in a triangle. These are roughly circular piercings with evidence for rotational action in their formation; the tiny lips of metal pushed through to the reverse have been crudely doubled back and flattened. There is no evidence for decoration.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 2500BC-2000BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 478 millimetres
    • Width: 25.3 millimetres (maximum)
    • Width: 7.5 millimetres (terminals)
    • Thickness: 1 millimetres
    • Weight: 21.5 grammes
  • Curator's comments

    Initially this would have been a very plain gold strip, swelling towards the middle. If the ends had been drawn close together before being secured using the perforations, it would have had a diameter of about 15 cm, a size suitable for a diadem or neck choker. In either case it could have been fixed to another material such as leather.

    Such plain ornaments lacking any archaeological context present problems for dating. Very few parallels can be found. Perhaps closest is a gold strip of similar shape, but more rounded ends and only 285 mm long, from Co Cavan, Ireland (Taylor 1980, pl. 28 g,h & i). It is, however, decorated with lightly incised lines and dots, a familiar feature of the earliest goldwork of western Europe. A bronze strip from an Early Bronze Age grave at Garton Slack, East Yorkshire, is generally similar but again decorated, this time along its full length; there is just one perforation at either end.

    There are however occasional plain examples in continental Europe; in two Breton finds they are in datable contexts (Eluère 1982, 57 pl. 68, 58 pl. 71). An Early Bronze Age hoard from Kerivoa has one end of a plain strip tapering to a rounded terminal, where there are two small perforations. The second was associated with early Beaker material in a dolmen at Kerouaren, Plouhinec; it is parallel along its full length, not swollen like the near Winchester piece, and also differs in having one slightly expanded terminal. In addition to tiny perforations at the terminals (four and two) there are also three widely spread along the long sides. Further afield, a very similar strip to that from Winchester is illustrated and described as a diadem by Perea (1991, 50); it comes from a collective tomb at Cueva de los Murciélagos, Granada, in the south of Spain.

    A reasonably strong case can be made that the near Winchester strip belongs to a wider family of sheet gold ornaments dating to the beginning phases of metallurgy in the Atlantic provinces of Europe, circa 2500-2000 BC. They can be either plain or simply decorated. The analysis of the present Treasure case is not incompatible with such a date.

    Non-destructive X-ray fluorescence analysis of the surface of a sheet metal strip from Chilcomb by the British Museum, indicated a gold content of approximately 91%.

    S.P. Needham

    References

    Eluère, C. 1982. Les Ors Préhistoriques. L’Age du Bronze en France - 2; Paris: Picard.

    Perea, A. 1991. Orfebreria Prerromana: Arqueologia del Oro. Madrid: Consejería de Cultura.

    Taylor, J.J. 1980. Bronze Age Goldwork of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press.

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  • Bibliography

    • Murgia et al 2014 1.5.1 bibliographic details
    • TAR 2005/6 p.16, no. 1 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Condition

    The strip has many transverse creases consistent with it having been rolled up and crushed flat. The main additional damage is a repeating pattern of rounded hammer dents of varied sizes and shapes; the faithful repetition of the pattern at regular intervals along the strip shows that they were inflicted after the object had been coiled and flattened and were hence transmitted through several thicknesses of sheet metal.

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2008

  • Acquisition notes

    The ornament was found in September-November 2000 and the finder did not realise its potential significance. In January 2005 it was submitted for consideration as Treasure on the advice of Mr P. Murawski, a dealer from Cambridge. At that time Mr Cornish could recall only that he had found it on a footpath, possibly in the Winchester area. Later, in March, he made a statement saying that he could remember it coming from a particular field of stubble near Winchester on a particular occasion, but had no specific recollection of actually digging up this object because he had dismissed it as base metal. This statement also says that he unrolled the strip and placed it in a box with his other finds.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    2008,8019.1

  • Additional IDs

    • 2005T21 (Treasure number)
A long, cigar shaped strip of sheet gold with squared off terminals. At either end is a set of three small perforations set in a triangle. These are roughly circular piercings with evidence for rotational action in their formation; the tiny lips of metal pushed through to the reverse have been crudely doubled back and flattened. There is no evidence for decoration.    The strip has many transverse creases consistent with it having been rolled up and crushed flat. The main additional damage is a repeating pattern of rounded hammer dents of varied sizes and shapes; the faithful repetition of the pattern at regular intervals along the strip shows that they were inflicted after the object had been coiled and flattened and were hence transmitted through several thicknesses of sheet metal.

A long, cigar shaped strip of sheet gold with squared off terminals. At either end is a set of three small perforations set in a triangle. These are roughly circular piercings with evidence for rotational action in their formation; the tiny lips of metal pushed through to the reverse have been crudely doubled back and flattened. There is no evidence for decoration. The strip has many transverse creases consistent with it having been rolled up and crushed flat. The main additional damage is a repeating pattern of rounded hammer dents of varied sizes and shapes; the faithful repetition of the pattern at regular intervals along the strip shows that they were inflicted after the object had been coiled and flattened and were hence transmitted through several thicknesses of sheet metal.

Image description

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Object reference number: BCE173933

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