- Museum number
A decorated copper alloy suspension-ring with a rectangular loop for suspension. The ring was found face down near the suspension loop of the scabbard, so it may have belonged to an attached belt, although the ring's loop is very narrow. The ring of the loop is half round in section and decorated in low relief; it is a lost-wax casting and the decoration would have been executed in the wax. There are four circular settings for round knobs of coral; each knob is perforated and attached by a rivet with alarge head (only two intact). The back is slightly concave. Within the ring, on one side, a much smaller ring with offset circular hole bordered by a hatched crescent with five raised dots. This distinctive motif appears on the scabbard and the shield which suggests that the suspension ring was made to match.
- Production date
- 250 BC - 150 BC (circa)
Diameter: 45 - 46 millimetres
Height: 10.20 millimetres (including coral knob)
Length: 52.60 millimetres (including strap loop)
Weight: 40.60 grammes
- Curator's comments
This object was found in the burial of a man aged 30 to 35 years (for human remains see 1990,0102.28). The man was probably buried around 200 BC. This extended inhumation burial was part of a large Iron Age cemetery at Mill Hill, Deal, Kent (Parfitt 1995, p.18-20, grave 112).
The most unusual object in the grave was a bronze ‘crown’ or ‘head-dress’ (1990,0102.24), engraved with detailed La Tène style decoration. A wooden shield with bronze bindings and fittings (1990,0102.6-23), and an iron sword (1990,0102.1) with copper alloy scabbard (1990,0102.2-5) were also part of the burial assemblage. The shield was the same shape as some of the miniature shields from the Salisbury hoard (see 1998,0401.1-20).
Other objects included bronze scabbard suspension rings (1990,0102.26-27) and a bronze brooch (1990,0102.25). The brooch was discovered near the man’s feet. Perhaps the brooch had been pinned to a cloak folded at his feet. All three of these bronze objects were decorated with applied coral studs. The grave goods were published by Stead (1995, 59-95). The sword is also published by Stead (2006, no.66) and Jope (2000, 278, pl.205:O).
Much has been made of the inclusion of the head-dress in the grave. No other head-dresses from Iron Age Europe have been found in graves. It has been suggested that this object may indicate that the man was a priest or king. This ‘crown’ was perhaps a sign of leadership, but of what kind is unknown – spiritual, military or political. Unlike most modern leaders, his role may have covered all these areas.
Jope, E.M. 2000. Early Celtic Art in the British Isles. Oxford University Press
Parfitt, K. 1995. Iron Age Burials from Mill Hill, Deal. British Museum Press
Stead, I.M. 1995. ‘The Metalwork’ in K. Parfitt (ed.) Iron Age Burials from Mill Hill, Deal. British Museum Press. p.59-111
Stead, I. M. 2006. British Iron Age swords and scabbards. British Museum Press
This decorated cast suspension ring was found next to the suspension loop of the scabbard [1990,0102.2-5]. For detailed description, see Stead 1995:88 and 90, fig. 32:5.
From grave 112 in the Mill Hill cemetery, with an extended skeleton, 'crown', shield, brooch and strap-end, Parfitt 1995:19-20; for the grave-goods, see Stead 1995:59-95; Jope 2000:278, pl. 205:0.
- On display (G50/dc16)
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number