'Beaker' Basket Ornaments
Gold was the first metal worked by man. Gold objects were high status, reserved for important people. We have Gold deposits in Britain, but no evidence of its working in the Bronze Age. Similar objects are known from Ireland and Spain, so they may be imports or copies made here. These objects were worn as hair ornaments. The Amesbury Archer had two by his head, rolled up to secure to his hair. These objects date to the very start of the Bronze Age, or the ‘Copper Age’, 2,500-2,000 BC.
The ‘Beaker’ name comes from the ‘Beaker’ culture, named after pots, which were part of a distinct set of grave goods. This culture is present across Europe and Britain and debate continues as to whether this illustrates migration or spreading of a culture, which included the first metal working.
The Amesbury archer belonged to this culture and may have been a metalworker. He would have had high status, with skills viewed as magical. Imagine watching someone turning rocks into metal! These objects illustrate new technology, long distance travel, ideas exchange and migration. They are the oldest metal objects in our collection and among a handful of the oldest Treasure objects.
On display in the Coming to Charnwood cases
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Page Last Updated: 13 May 2013