SWYOR-B6E981: Late Bronze Age armlet

Rights Holder: West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service
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ARMLET

Unique ID: SWYOR-B6E981

Object type certainty: Probably
Workflow status: Published Find published

A copper alloy armlet or bracelet probably dating from the Later Bronze Age, about 1000 BC - 800 BC. It is a penannular loop with flared, expanding terminals. These are close together, leaving a gap of only about 4-6mm between them. Each terminal is circular and the ends are concave or hollow. The inner face of one terminal is rough and corroded and has gravel adhering to the concretion. The outer sides of the terminals are straight, flaring from the armlet hoop to the widest point of the terminals at the very end. The hoop is mainly D shaped in cross section and varies in diameter. It is c.12mm diameter immediately behind the terminals, swelling to c.18mm diameter at the side of the hoop opposite the terminals. The overall plan is D-shaped, the terminals being in the middle of the straight edge. It has been suggested that the original shape of the bracelet has been changed, as the terminals are unusually close to each other. There are some short shallow grooves on the inside of the hoop, near one of the terminals, and parallel to the end of the terminal. These are worn and patinated. The surface is mainly smooth and worn, with a few small pits, and has a turquiose green patina, with some areas of golden olive green. The armlet is 113.4mm long, 88.8mm wide (from terminals to the outer side of the hoop) and 24mm thick across the terminals. The internal measurements are 83.2mm long and 48.6mm wide from the terminal to the inner edge of the apex. 362g. The artefact was recovered from a quarry and has been through a washing plant where it would have been scrubbed with sand. This may account for the smooth, worn surface, but the fact that not all the patina has been removed suggests that it was a well developed patina originally. The small areas of olive green colouration may indicate the original colour.

This object could also be a Post Medieval to Modern West African manilla or currency bar such as WMID-22DE66, LANCUM-41B6C5 or LIN-E37002, but all of these previously recorded on the PAS database have solid, teardop shaped terminals, and a more open, horseshoe like shape in plan. However, it remains a possibility that this is a manilla of different style. The depth and uniformity of the patina argues against this interpretation.

A good parallel but in gold rather than copper alloy is HAMP-5E48D1. Photographs of the copper alloy armlet were sent to several specialists. Adam Gwilt (National Museum of Wales) suggested that there is a tendancy for bronze versions of objects that are usually gold to be more common in Western and Northern Britain and provided a reference that touches on this: Gwilt et al (2005) A Late Bronze Age Hoard from Trevalyn Farm, Rossett, Wrexham, with Some Obvervations on Hoarding Practice and Gold Bracelet Weights" in Studia Celtica XXXIX (2005), pages 27 - 61. He also noted that the squashed oval form looked atypical and suggested that the terminals may have been pushed inwards, perhaps deliberately before deposition. He suggested that the shape of the terminals are possible for the Late Bronze Age, though this example has chunky proportions.

Julia Farley (British Museum) agreed that the patina was plausibly Bronze Age or Iron Age, and Neil Wilkin (British Museum) was also prepared to entertain a Late Bronze Age date, citing a pair of slightly more slender copper alloy pennannular bracelets with expanded terminals recovered in a cache of Late Bronze Age (Ewart Park / Carp's Tongue) metalwork at Minster in Thanet, Kent which were excavated in 2010 - 2011 (MOLA Excavation Report: 'Prehistoric and Roman settlement at Tothill Street, Minster in Thanet, Kent' downloaded from www.kentarchaeology.org.uk). He did point out that the terminals are closer together than the Thanet examples, and the shape is more kidney-shaped.

In conclusion, this object is likely to be a Late Bronze Age armlet that has been distorted, perhaps deliberately, and one that has been made in copper alloy rather than the more usual gold.

Find of note status

This is a find of note and has been designated: County / local importance

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 1000 BC
Date to: Circa 800 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 113.4 mm
Width: 88.8 mm
Thickness: 24 mm
Weight: 362 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 22nd May 2018

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Amy Downes
Identified by: Ms Amy Downes
Secondary identifier:

Other reference numbers

Other reference: PAS form number 3171

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: Yorkshire and the Humber (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: North Yorkshire (County)
District: Harrogate (District)
Parish or ward: North Stainley with Sleningford (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SE3076
Four figure Latitude: 54.17891154
Four figure longitude: -1.54186705
1:25K map: SE3076
1:10K map: SE37NW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Other chance find
Discovery circumstances: Recovered from the conveyor belt at a quarry
General landuse: Other
Specific landuse: Mineral extraction

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SWYOR
Created: 29 days ago
Updated: 9 days ago

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