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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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sheet / strip

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Copper alloy, fragment of a ?strip of sheet metal. Corroded surfaces; original edge is visible in small area (length: 4mm).

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1900BC-1600BC (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 55 millimetres
    • Width: 26 millimetres
    • Thickness: 1 millimetres
    • Weight: 4.6 grammes
  • Curator's comments

    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, 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.


  • Bibliography

    • Needham 2012 bibliographic details
  • Exhibition history


    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 notes

    In the presentation of the Mold Gold Cape to the Society of Antiquaries on 17th December 1835, a letter from Rev C.B. Clough which stated '...several pieces of copper... which had served as a stiffening or inner case or the armour. Some of these pieces are still in Mr Langford's possession' . It is therefore possible that they were acquired from Langford late in 1836 with the two gold sections 1836.0902.2-3. However in the absence of definitive evidence, they have been added to the 1881 registration.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: BCB16795

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