Bracelets

Four types of bronze bracelet; decorated, plain, ribbed and twisted, appeared in the Taunton Period around 1400 BC along with many other ornaments and tools. After the Penard period a variety of other bracelets appeared, including more regional varieties and associated armrings.

Ribbed Bracelets

The bracelet is cast with a flat inner face and multiple longitudinal ribs on the outer face. It is broad and flat in section with straight parallel sides and squared off or slightly tapering terminals.

Bracelets

a)Plain wire bracelets with overlapping or hooked terminals: The larger form is rounded or rectangular in section and has smooth overlapping terminals.

b)Spiral twisted wire bracelets with overlapping or hooked terminals: The same distinction occurs as found for the plain bracelet form except that the spiral twisting technique has been applied, presumable for additional decoration. They appear to be small bracelet versions of the spiral twisted torc as seen for the two specimens with hooked terminals in the Monkswood hoard.

Pennanular Armrings

a)Lozenge sectioned armrings: These are made from square sectioned rod that has been bent on the angle into a circular or oval shape. Two sub-groups can be distinguished depending on whether the terminals are rounded off and contingent with one another or are square cut and overlap. These two types are known as lozenge sectioned with either contingent terminals, or overlapping terminals respectively. Rowlands (1975: 93) notes that the "use of lozenge sectioned rod is presumably a by-product of the spiral twisting technique where square sectioned rod was used, particularly for the manufacture of spiral twisted torcs. It is therefore of interest to note the very similar distribution of torcs and lozenge sectioned armrings in the Somerset, Dorset/Wiltshire region."

b)Round sectioned armrings: These armrings are of round section, with tapering ends towards the terminals. Said terminals are square cut, but can be either contingent or overlapping, in a similar manner to the lozenge sectioned armrings.

c)Spiral twisted armrings: These armrings have often had their origins debated over, but Butler (1963: 155-7) noted that this form appeared to have been derived from the manufacture of spiral twisted torcs, and that in fact it is probable that these finds are re-used pieces of broken torc.

d)Plain armrings: This category, created by Rowlands, was designed to include two armrings found amongst the Blackrock hoard (Piggott 1949:114). They are oval in profile and are D-sectioned due to the interior face being hammered flat. The terminals are slightly expanded into disc ends which are set close together.

e)Decorated armrings: These possess expanded terminals and a rounded body section, which in the case of the finds from the Liss hoard, Hampshire, were subsequently flattened to a D-section. Additionally, a single find was recorded from the Thames, comprised of a similar bracelet, but with a cast D section.

Annular Armrings

These armrings are solid rings of bronze that are fully cast and can possess either a D, hexagonal or crescentic section. Rowlands notes that except for the presence of decoration, there is no easily observable morphological difference between the plain and decorated forms.

a)The D-sectioned plain armrings found tend to be larger than their counterparts; armrings which are circular or oval in section. Six of the recorded finds came from the Ebbesbourne Wake hoard, Wiltshire, a hoard noteworthy for containing both plain and decorated bracelets; something that features heavily amongst hoards in Brittany.

b)Fewer annular armrings have been found with decoration compared to plain examples, but are still found in similar areas (South West, South East). They can be of D or oval shaped section, but additionally, one find from the Ebbesboure Wake hoard was of hexagonal section, despite having a simpler lozenge decoration than other examples. Armrings from Grimstone, Hayling Island and Portsmouth feature complex geometric decorations that share similarities with native French armrings particularly the 'Bignan type'.

Sussex Loops

Over two-dozen armrings exist of this distinctive form that, since 1954, has been recognised as the product of a single industry, or even, according to Curwen, a single craftsman, owing to the fact that nearly all the finds were found within a thirteen mile radius of Brighton. Further, it is also probable that these loops were worn as pairs, since identical loops appear in several hoards (Stump Bottom, Hanley Cross and Blackrock). They may be of one of two forms: lozenge sectioned or round sectioned, with the former occasionally featuring a very distinctive 'nick decoration', attributed to an attempt to reproduce a spiral twisted appearance (Piggot 1949: 114). Although it has to be noted that a number of other pieces of late MBA metal-work also feature this decoration.

Example: 1853,0412.16

References

  • Butler, J.J. (1963) Bronze Age Connections across the North Sea Palaeohostoria 9, I ff.
  • O'Connor, B. (1980) Cross Channel Relations in the Later Bronze Age. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports S91
  • Pearce, S. (1984) Bronze Age Metalwork in Southern Britain. Aylesbury: Shire Publications.
  • Piggott, C.M. (1949) A Late Bronze Age Hoard from Blackrock in Sussex and its significance. PPS 15 107-21