The Ringlemere gold cup

Bronze Age, about 1700-1500 BC
From Ringlemere, Kent, England

This fabulous and rare gold cup was found at Ringlemere in East Kent in November 2001 by Mr Cliff Bradshaw. It is only the second example of its type to come from Britain. Indeed, only five stylistically related gold cups are known from continental Europe, distributed between Brittany, north-west Germany and northern Switzerland. These early gold vessels, dating to about 1700-1500 BC, had rounded bases and all but one have a single handle riveted neatly to their 'S'-profiled bodies.

The Ringlemere cup is testimony to the skills of gold-workers in the later part of the Early Bronze Age. Beautifully crafted from sheet metal, the body carries multiple horizontal corrugations, a feature most closely paralleled on the Rillaton gold cup, found on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, in the early nineteenth century (see Related Objects).

Since the discovery of the Ringlemere gold cup a team of archaeologists working under the Canterbury Archaeological Trust in conjunction with the British Museum has excavated around the findspot. This work has revealed a previously unsuspected funerary complex of Early Bronze Age date, but the assumption that the badly crushed cup had been dislodged from a grave by modern ploughing remains to be proved.

S Needham, K Parfitt, G Varndell (eds.), The Ringlemere Cup. Precious cups and the beginning of the channel Bronze Age, British Museum Research Publication 163 (London, The British Museum Press, 2006).

Richard Hobbs, Treasure: Finding our past (London, The British Museum Press, 2003)

S. Needham and G. Varndell, 'Seeking a context for the Ringlemere cup', British Museum Magazine (2003)

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The Ringlemere gold cup

The Ringlemere gold cup

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Height: 140.000 mm
Weight: 184.000 g

Museum number

P&E 2003 5-1 1



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