Late Bronze Age

18 Sep


As soon as I walked into the National Museum of Ireland, a display of gold ornaments immediately caught my eye. What I was most attracted to were the gold collars, which are also called “gorgets”, from the Late Bronze Age. Gorgets are unique to Ireland because only nine gorgets or fragments of gorgets have survived. During the Late Bronze Age, goldsmiths excelled in the production of ornaments made from gold sheets, and in Ireland the best products made from those gold sheets were the gorgets and gold ear-spools. The gorget is a semi-circular shape that is made in one piece from hammered gold, and on each end two discs are attached. Gorgets were most likely worn by rich Irish warrior kings, and it was used to symbolize power since it looked heavy. The gorgets from the Late Bronze Age are pre-celtic design and the production of those gorgets were more advanced since it used more techniques and decorations than it did in the Early Bronze Age and Middle Bronze Age. The lunula is from the Early Bronze Age and it is similar to the gorget except that it is normally flat and thin, which was meant to reflect light better. During the Late Bronze Age, the gorget was meant to seem heavier because Irish gold was growing scarce therefore the owner of the gorget was meant to have respect and seem powerful. I think it is interesting to see how the meaning of decorative ornaments changes throughout the different Bronze Ages and it reveals what was happening and thought of during those times. 

-Kathy Whelan

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