- Museum number
- Series: Pitkelloney armlets
Massive cast copper alloy armlet, ornamented with an enamelled disc in red and yellow on each of the two terminals. The enamelled roundels were made separately and fixed in place with iron discs. This object is one of a pair, the other is 1838,0714.3.a.
- Production date
- 50 - 200 (circa)
Diameter: 139.20 millimetres (external, max)
Diameter: 79.40 millimetres (terminal 1)
Diameter: 77.30 millimetres (terminal 2)
Weight: 1726 grammes
Thickness: 12 millimetres (cross-section)
- Curator's comments
This is one of a pair of massive armlets, similar to those from Castle Newe, also in the British Museum (1946,0402.1 and 2). Only 21 of this type have been found, 20 of them in north-eastern Scotland. This suggests that this was a special type of object that was only made and worn by people in this part of Britain. Although they are usually called Iron Age armlets, most were probably made between AD 43 and 200. By this time England and southern Scotland were part of the Roman Empire; north-eastern Scotland was never fully conquered. The one armlet not found in Scotland was found in Ireland. It was probably made in north-eastern Scotland, and reached Ireland perhaps as a gift, or on the arm of a Scottish woman or man. As these armlets are so heavy, it has also been suggested that they might have been used to adorn wooden statues of ancestors or deities.
The armlet was made of brass (an alloy of copper and zinc), not bronze (copper and tin). Brass was commonly used in the Roman world at this time. The armlet was made with great skill: cast in its finished form, rather than being cast flat and then twisted to form the hoop. The circular terminals have separate discs ornamented with a petal design in red and yellow enamel.
Mentioned in Aileen Dawson, 'French Porcelain: A Catalogue of the British Museum Collection', 1994, London, p. 113.
"In 1838 Lord and Lady Willoughby d'Eresby presented to the British Museum two “La Tène enamelled bracelets” (reg. no. 1838,0714.3a, 3b). These, now called 'North British Iron Age', are known as the Pitkelloney armlets, from their find spot in Perthshire, Scotland, and date from 1st-2nd centuries AD; for more details see ‘Seven Thousand Years of jewellery’, ed. H. Tait, London, 1986, p. 78, no. 176."
Appendix, Archaeologia, 28 (1839) pp. 435-6.
Pitkeloney, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, XV (1880-1), pp340-342.
- On display (G50/dc30)
- Exhibition history
2016 11 Mar- 25 Sep, Edinburgh, National Museum of Scotland, Celts.
2015-2016 24 Sep-31 Jan, London, BM, G30, 'Celts: Art and Identity'
1998 18 Apr-12 Jul, Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art, Celtic Art
1993 8 Apr-26 May, Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland, Iron Age Metalwork in Northeast Scotland
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number