070. Armlet

070. Armlet

Weight: 611.37 g. L. of trumpet-shaped elements:
11.36 cm; 11.5 cm
Found in the Charente Maritime, France
Middle Bronze Age
1500-1250 B.C.

The gold spiral [1] itself in all likelihood made by moulding, stretching and hammering; it terminates in trumpet-shaped elements, probably cast, which were affixed to the end of the spiral by hammering. At the join a notched circle in relief serves both to hide it, and as a decorative element.

Annealing was used throughout the production process.

One of the elements bears a wedge-like indent which might be some sort of hallmark or workshop signature.

Such gold arm bracelets have been found over a vast region from Ireland and the Atlantic Coast to Iberia and as far east as the Carpathian Mountains. Though more numerous in Ireland, Scotland, England and to a lesser extent Spain, there are a few examples from France such as the one from Ille-et-Vilaine in the Cluny Museum [2], though the spiral is twisted. They were produced for religious reasons and/or social prestige and the gold was no doubt often obtained by trading in wheat.

This example is outstanding for its volume and purity of line.

1 Approximate L. coiled: 13.7 cm, uncoiled: 149.5 cm.
(from upper end to upper end of trumpet elements along inside
of coils).

2 Déchelette, J.: Manuel d'Archéologie préhistorique et celtique. 2. Age du Bronze (Repr. Paris, 1987), p. 355, fig. 140,2.