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Updated: 14 April 2015
Copper alloy neckring; circular section expanding to ends; enriched with beaded wire rings and cylindrical wire coils; antique repair; surviving terminal a hook.
- Excavated/Findspot: Latvia
- Diameter: 11.2 centimetres
A summary introduction to the Bähr Collection of 1852
Professor Johann Karl Bähr (1801-1869) held a chair first as the Riga Academy of Art and subsequently at Dresden. He began to form an archaeological collection of mainly Balt and Finno-Ugrian material following the floods along the River Daugava (Duna) in summer 1837, which uncovered or washed out several inhumation cemeteries of the period, notably at Aizkraukle (formerly Ascheraden) and Sigulda (Segewold).
Violent political unrest on the Continent in 1848-49 seems to have been one of the chief reasons behind his decision to sell his collection, as well as disillusion with the debate over the significance of the material he had assembled, which gainsaid his own view that the Iron Age artefacts had belonged to the native Finno-Ugrian Livs. The collection was acquired by the British Museum in 1852 on account of perceived analogies to Viking-period finds that were being made in England.
Although no original manuscript catalogue seems to have reached London, Bähr published an account of his excavations at Aizkraukle and Sigulda (Bähr 1850). This forms the basis of and supplements the information about findspots recorded in the register. But it still itemises only eight of the fifty or more graves that he excavated at the former site and gives only a small selection of those from the latter and the region of Daugmale. There appear to be further arrangements of objects by significant groups in the register, which possibly indicate grave assemblages that future research may be able to identify. (Barry Ager)
Moora H, Die Eisenzeit in Lettland bis etwa 500 n. Chr., part II: Analyse, Verhandlungen der Gelehrten Estnischen Gesellschaft XXIX. Tartu 1938, p. 311 note 1.
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
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Object reference number: MCS12299
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