Lunulae

Neck ornaments made by a flat sheet gold crescent with quadrangular or oval terminals. Their finely-incised and complex geometric patterns can be related to Beaker pottery. That suggests a chronological range that overlaps the primary Bell Beaker gold work and is contemporary with early to middle stage Beakers.

Lunulae have been divided by Taylor (1970, 190, 25-41) in three groups based on decoration, shape and distribution:

  1. The Classical group contains the finest examples of Lunulae, characterised to have the widest and thinnest sheet and a rich and complex geometric decoration. There are 38 examples of Classical Lunula (33 are from Ireland, 3 from England and 2 attributed to Scotland).
  2. The Unaccomplished group is related to the Classical; however the Lunulae of this group are narrower, thicker, and have an inferior quality of decoration. The number of survived Unaccomplished Lunulae is 39 and they are all from Ireland.
  3. The Provincial group is made of a thicker foil of gold and is commonly decorated with deeply incised lines and dots. 15 examples of these group are known (1 from Ireland, 1 from, England, 1 from Wales, 1 from Scotland, 6 from France, 1 from Germany and 1 from Luxemburg).

Dating and areas of discoverydistribution

Date: circa 2400 - 2000 BC
Distribution: Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales

Examples

Classical lunulae BM 1845,0122.1

A late Neolithic - Early bronze Age lunulae

Provincial lunulae BM 1869,0619.1

A decorated Gold lunulae

Unaccomplished lunulae BM 1849,0301.21

A decorated gold lunulae

References

  • Taylor, J.J. 1970. Lunulae Reconsidered. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 36, 38-81