Image of a crescent shaped sheet of gold metal with some geometric engravings
Bronze Age Lunula
The most complete gold lunula (a crescent moon shaped amulet) ever found in Britain. Found in North Dorset by a metal detectorist in 2014, the lunula has been dated to the early Bronze Age.
The British Museum and The Portable Antiquities Scheme
An incomplete gold lunula found in two pieces. A flat crescent shaped sheet of gold of which aproximately three quarters remains. The lunula is torn and bent at the break and there is some damage and denting along the edge and at the widest point. On ...more
An incomplete gold lunula found in two pieces. A flat crescent shaped sheet of gold of which aproximately three quarters remains. The lunula is torn and bent at the break and there is some damage and denting along the edge and at the widest point. On the larger piece, the surviving expanded terminal is sub-angular with rounded corners and a pronounced mid-rib. It is set at right angles to the plane of the body. The body of the crescent is wide and tapers to the remaining terminal. The central body is undecorated apart a triple stranded framing band along both edges. The lines continue to the apex of the remaining horn of the crescent, increasing to four lines on the inner edge for a short distance (possibly a slip in the engraving). The lines on the inner edge remain equidistant and curve around below the neck of the terminal. The lines around the outer edge start to converge and terminate at the edge.The remaining horn of the crescent is decorated with incised geometric patterns of a type commonly seen on lunulae. At the apex of the horn is an area of fine incised cross-hatching forming an open lattice. The lines here are slightly finer than in other areas of decoration. The cross hatching (x) is bordered by a series of five transverse lines (-), roughly parallel, below which are three downward triangles (v) infilled with transverse lines, a plain area (p) and a group of upward pointing triangles (ᴧ), similarly in-filled. The pattern of spaces and triangles separated by transverse lines is repeated four further times but with variation in the numbers of transverse lines and an increase in the number of triangles. The decoration is as follows:x-vpᴧ-vpᴧ-vpᴧ-vpᴧ-v.The variations in triangles and lines are:x- (5)v(3)pᴧ(3)-(5)v(3)pᴧ(4)-(4)v(4)pᴧ(4)-(3)v(4)pᴧ(4)-(4)v(5).It is likely that the decoration was repeated on the missing horn.The line thicknesses vary through the decoration. The thickest and deepest are the framing bands, followed by the transverse lines and triangles then the triangle infill. The finest and lightest lines being those comprising lattice pattern at the apex.The lines are not neatly applied with frequent crossing of the transverse lines into other areas of decoration, irregularity in spacing and angle and open apexes to the triangles. The back is undecorated, but on the horn of the crescent the geometric lines on the front have been applied to sufficient depth for them to be faintly visible in low relief.Dimensions: 142 mm x 180 mm Maximum surviving width - 46.27 mm. Average plate thickness - 0.30 mm . Terminal dimensions - 17.70 mm x 18.10 mm x 1.0 mm (rib thickness)Weight: 71.63 gThe smaller piece is more damaged, but appears to join to the break on the larger piece. It is torn and folded at both ends and along the inner edge. The triple strand decoration at the outer edge is visible, as are the lowest transverse decorative elements mirroring those seen on the horn of the main piece. What remains comprises, from top to bottom, ᴧ(4)-(4)v(4). The dimensions of the smaller piece are:Dimensions: 43.40 mm x 38.14 mm x 0.52 mm Weight: 9.61 gDate: Early Bronze Age - c. 2400 - 2000 BCTotal Weight: 81.24 g less
width: 180 mmthickness: 0.55 mmweight: 71.63 g
© The Trustees of the British Museum and The Portable Antiquities Scheme