Rings

There are three main types of ring, coiled, ribbed or plain. They can be annular or penannular (a complete circle or a circle with a break in it). Some of these rings seem to be made from reused fragments of metal and a few are far too big to have been worn on the finger. It has therefore been suggested that these rings could have been used as hair ornaments or as harness and horse equipment. Rings which can be dated to 1400-1250 BC are usually found in hoards.

Coiled Rings

These are more numerous and well defined than other types, and are made either from plain or spiral twisted wire and coiled tightly so that a continuous thread is formed. A notable example is the ring from the Blackrock hoard, owing to its D-sectioned shape and the heavy decoration on its outer face (comprising of a series of multi-ribbed lozenges separated by columns of vertical lines).

Example

SWYOR-3FF370PAS record number: SWYOR-3FF370
Object type: Finger ring
Broadperiod: Bronze Age
County of discovery: North Yorkshire
Stable url: http://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/155230

Ribbed Rings

These can be interpreted as a miniature version of the ribbed bracelets. Often these rings are pennanular, but an annular example was found in Suffolk, putting slight distance from the idea that they were solely miniature bracelets.

Example

SUSS-93DE63PAS record number: SUSS-93DE63
Object type: Ring
Broadperiod: Bronze Age
County of discovery: East Sussex
Stable url: http://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/182722

Plain Rings

Plain rings with no decoration and untwisted are sometimes difficult to identify as finger rings or hair ornaments as they could perhaps have been used for some other purpose such as in horse harnesses.

Example

NMS-EAF666PAS record number: NMS-EAF666
Object type: Ring
Broadperiod: Bronze Age
County of discovery: Norfolk
Stable url: http://finds.org.uk/database/artefacts/record/id/413424

Simple Twist Rings

These are little more than simple twists of bronze ribbon or wire and it's been noted by Rowlands (1976) that it cannot be certain that these are finger-rings rather than scrap pieces of metal. However, the single ring from the Stump Bottom hoard was formed through casting, showing that there was, even on a small level, some desire to produce such rings.

References

  • 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.
  • Rowlands, M.J. (1976) 'The Production and Distribution of Metalwork in the Middle Bronze Age in Southern Britain: Part ii'. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.