Lunula (crescent-shaped neck-band) - ROM2010_11707_9


Lunula (crescent-shaped neck-band)

Medium:Hammered sheet gold
Geography: Found in Ireland
Date: about 2000-1500 BC
Period: Early Irish Bronze Age
18.5 x 3.4 x 16.2 cm, 42.4 g
Object number: 909.14.1
Credit Line: Gift of Sigmund Samuel
On view
Gallery Location:Eaton Gallery of Rome: Britain and Ireland to the time of the Romans

Irish Gold

Copper and gold objects were first made in Ireland about 2500 BC using unrefined alluvial gold from the Wicklow Mountains (south-east Ireland). In the early Bronze Age, ornaments made of hammered gold sheets, chiefly lunulae, predominated. Heavier gold work came in after about 1400 BC, including twisted neck-bands (torcs).

Ireland and Britain 2200 BC - 400 AD

The Bronze Age (2200-600 BC) in Ireland was a time of relative peace and prosperity. Small communities arose based on agriculture and cattle-raising. Bronze was used to make tools and weapons but their metalworker's greatest forte was fashioning splendid gold objects for personal adornment. Several examples are shown here.

From the 5th century BC onwards, numerous Celtic-speaking tribes with a uniform culture inhabited much of Europe - from Romania to Britain and from Ireland to Spain. These "clans" were ruled by a warrior class who vied with each other in acts of bravery. Their oral traditions were preserved by "bards", the Druids.

Following Julius Caesar's invasions in 55 and 54 BC, troops of the emperor Claudius successfully occupied Britain in 43 AD. During the 1st century AD, Rome occupied England, Wales, and Southern Scotland. The northern frontiers were protected by the famous wall constructed by the emperors Hadrian (117-138 AD) and Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD). Roman domination lasted until 410 AD, when the emperor Honorius proclaimed that Britain would have to take care of its own defence and withdrew the Legions stationed there.

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