- Museum number
Copper alloy and coral strap-fitting; two fragments. A cast copper alloy open triangular shape, formed by three linked circular settings, each ornamented with a knob of coral. One of the links is a rounded bar, presumably to take the end of a narrow strap, and the other two are curved and unworn. Each of the settings is decorated on the outside with cross-hatching and a raised central dot within a lunate frame (the decoration executed in wax for the casting). One of the coral knobs is loose, its setting has a black filling which is penetrated by the rivet that secures the coral knob. It could have belonged to the same narrow strap that attached the suspension-ring (1990,0102.26), though the two metal fittings were found some distance apart.
- Production date
- 250 BC - 150 BC (circa)
Diameter: 8 - 9 millimetres (coral knobs)
Height: 9.50 millimetres
Length: 25.20 millimetres
Weight: 9.90 grammes
Width: 6 millimetres (rounded bar)
- 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
- Not on display
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number