Finger Ring Stack




Gail Drinkall

Hannah Clay

This week’s Finds Friday is a group of five copper-alloy finger-rings that were found during excavations on the A1.


These objects were found in the grave of a juvenile aged between 10 and 11 years. Traces of a poorly preserved enamel survived in some of the rings; one had blue enamel in the bezel and another had possible white enamel surrounding three upstanding cast dots. Despite similarities, the presence of the dots suggested that the rings were not all cast from the same mould.


During conservation, some non-mineralised thin dark-coloured hair/fibres were observed among the corrosion inside the hoops. A sample of the hair was examined using scanning electron microscopy and was found to have a surface scale pattern. The hair/fibres were not very well preserved, but further examination showed that it was animal in origin, which possibly derived from some textile or pelt item within the burial. Traces of a layer of dark material with a slight linear pattern were also found on the inside of the ring with cast dots. This may be further evidence of a pelt, or it may be the remains of body tissue preserved by the biocidal effect of contact with the copper in the ring.


The rings were recovered corroded together but their range of internal diameters (11mm to 14mm) and the way they overlapped make it unlikely that they were worn on one finger at the time of deposition. The rings were probably tied together and may have been suspended from a string worn around the neck or similar, or placed in an organic container.

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