The images you'll see as you scroll down to the current text are all part of the story telling in my novel, Realms of Gold:Ritual to Romance.

Bianca Caldwell, pen name, Bianca Fiore, is a writer for an art magazine. In each of her monthly stories she describes an object used in ancient ritual.

Museum at Chatillon Features Realms of Gold!

                                Amis du Musée du Pays Châtillonnais
                                                                                                 Trésor de Vix
No oo1  Lettre aux Amis du Musée  Automne 2014
Fédération Française des Sociétés

d’Amis de Musée (FFSAM)

Notre association est adhérente à la FFSAM à l’instar de quelque 290 autres sociétés d’amis de Musée. En plus de son rôle d’interlocuteur des Pouvoirs Publics, la fédération est un organe de promotion des Sociétés d’Amis et par voie de conséquence des musées, une source de contacts et une occasion d’échanges d’expériences. C’est ainsi qu’un article sur l’AMPC est paru dans le dernier numéro de la revue de la FSAMM. Par ailleurs nous sommes entrain d’établir des relations avec nos collègues de Bourgogne en vue de donner un second souffle au groupement régional (Bourgogne) des sociétés d’amis de musée.
Affaire à suivre.

Un roman autour de la Dame de Vix :

Les royaumes dorés par Terry Stanfill.

La Dame de Vix a inspiré un roman original écrit par une Américaine résidant en Californie, Terry Stanfill.  A l’occasion d’une visite touristique de la région, cette écrivaine eut un véritable coup de cœur pour la Dame de Vix et tout ce qui l’entoure. L’ouvrage
"Les royaumes dorés" en Anglais "Realms of Gold " imagine les circonstances dans lesquelles le vase de Vix est arrivé dans notre Châtillonnais. Naturellement, c’est une fiction : elle met en scènes divers évènements et protagonistes réels ou imaginaires. Les versions françaises et anglaises sont en vente à la boutique du Musée (15€).  


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Gold Helmet of Leiro

The gold Casco de Leiro ("Helmet of Leiro") is a ritual hemispherical cap probably dating to the end of the Late Bronze Age[1] (circa 1,000 to 800 BC) in northwestern Iberia. The circumstances of its discovery show that technically it constitutes a hoard.

The cap, hammered from a single casting of gold,is entirely covered with registers of repeated repoussé decoration, hammered over bronze molds, of repeated bosses alternating with bands of repeated concentric circles. The central point is applied with a flat-sided point in the form of a truncated cone. Its maximum diameter is 19.5 cm with a height of 15 cm to the base of the point, it weighs 270 grams.
Treasure of Villena

Conical golden hats of the Schifferstadt

Its registers of hammered decoration present parallels with the decors of late Bronze Age conical golden hats of the Schifferstadt type and the gold bowls found at Axtroki, Guipúzcoa, or the so-called Treasure of Villena, Alicante. There is a possibility that its uses were twofold: as a ritual basin, though it is decoratively pierced with an awl, and inverted as an emblem of authority.

The Mold cape, Contemporary with the conical hats is a solid sheet-gold object dating from about 1900-1600 BC in the European Bronze Age. It was found at Mold in Flintshire, Wales, in 1833.

The cape is thought to have formed part of a ceremonial dress, perhaps with religious connections. It is housed at the British Museum in London.

The Ardagh Hoard

The hoard was found in 1868 by two boys, Jim Quinn and Paddy Flanagan, digging in a potato field on the south-western side of a rath (ring fort) called Reerasta, beside the village of Ardagh, County Limerick, Ireland. The chalice held the other items, covered merely by a slab of stone; the pieces must have been interred in a hurry, probably temporarily, as though the owner probably intended to return for them at a later time. The brooches found with the chalice show that it was not buried until the Viking period.

The hoard consisted of four brooches, a stemmed cup and a highly elaborate chalice which contained all of the smaller items.

Annular brooch, Ardagh Hoard

As for where the Chalice and its companions had been before then, nobody has any idea. Theories have been floated that it was one of a number of valuable pieces stolen from the monastery at Clonmacnoise in 1125 during a robbery by a Limerick Dane, a crime famous during that period.

The chalice belongs to a special group of cups known as ‘calices ministrales’, or in other words, chalices used by minor clergymen and lay people before the Catholic Church lifted restrictions on communion for both groups. During mass it would have been filled with Eucharistic wine, which the priest then dispensed to the congregation. At the time of its construction it would have been considered to be an old fashioned style, similar to Byzantine and Western Chalices.

So, why is this chalice so special, apart from the fact that it’s quite old? Because its construction and decoration shows incredible skill highly uncommon for that period of history, that’s why! Although large for a Eucharistic chalice, it is actually quite small, measuring seven inches in height and nine and a half inches in diameter, with the bowl being four inches deep. Within these reasonably small measurements there are a total of 354 different parts, six different types of metal (gold, silver, bronze, brass, copper and lead), small amounts of various other precious materials (glass, amber, malachite and rock crystal), and 48 different designs.

The decorative detail on the Ardagh Chalice is the most important aspect of it, and makes it the most beautiful Irish artefact ever to have been discovered. Everything from engravings, animals, interlaced patterns, and Greek bands feature in the design as well as exquisite ornamentation, known as repouseé and filigree wirework.

Amazing Examples of Ancient Celtic Gold

Celtic gold bracelet found in Cantal, France

A belt made of 2.8 kilograms (6.2 lb) of pure gold, discovered in Guînes, France. 1200-1000 BC

Ancient gold with a twist in its story is put on display

The 3,000-year-old torc was found four years ago in boggy ground at Corrard in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, by a passer-by who at first thought he had found a car engine spring. He realized its significance two years later, and it was declared treasure.

The rare piece weighs 720 grams and is approximately 87% gold, 11% silver and 2% copper. Its design would have been fashionable in Britain, Ireland and France between 1300-1100BC.

Torcs have been closely associated with the Celtic people of Bronze Age Europe since at least Roman times, when figures were often identified as Celtic in sculpture and paintings by the torcs they wore.

Made by smiths who expertly twisted the metal into a ribbon-like appearance (which gives the object its name, from the Latin torqueo, ‘to twist’), torcs were worn around the neck, waist, arm or breast.

However, a mystery surrounds the Ulster torc. In its present condition it could not have been worn anywhere on the body as it has been deliberately coiled like a spring.

The torc’s original design would have been as a large circular hoop with two solid terminals at either end. These are believed to have acted as interlocking clasps, much like a clasp on a necklace.

The reason for the change of shape is a mystery. The practice of deliberately coiling torcs before burial is more common in Southern England. Only one other torc in Ireland has been found in a similar shape.

Some have suggested that the coiling was an act to ‘decommission’ the object after its owner died. Alternatively, it may have been a votive offering; an object made with the intention of deliberately burying it as an offering to the gods.

Ulster Musuem, Belfast

British Musuem: Viking Gold

A gold Viking pendant in the form of 'Thor's hammer'. The pendant is in the form of a double-headed hammer with an elongated pentagonal head. The head is rectangular in cross-section. From the centre of the head extends an integral tapering rectangular-sectioned shaft. The terminal of the shaftis narrowed to form a suspension loop. Both faces of the axe are decorated with punched motifs resembling quatrefoils or perhaps miniature axes.

A gold finger-ring dating to the Viking period. The ring is composed of three tapering, square-sectioned rods twisted together, which are thicker at the front, while at the back the ends are hammered flat together into a plain, narrow band. Gold rings of twisted type from the British Isles and Scandinavia are dated from the late Saxon/Viking periods into the early Middle Ages, from the late 9th century into the 12th century.

An Early Medieval (Viking) gold finger ring dating from the late 9th-10th century. It is made from a strip of gold which tapers to wire terminals which are wound around each other at the back of the hoop. The bezel of the ring is the widest part of the strip, and is an elongated lozenge.

A Viking gold ring ring which consists of a double-banded hoop made from a slightly concavo-convex strip with the ends drawn into wires at the back of the hoop, which are then tightly wound round a constricted section of the strip.

The Thame Hoard

The Thame Hoard is made up of five medieval gold rings and ten silver groats (c.1351 – c.1457). It was found on the edge of the River Thame in 1940, by a couple walking their dog by the river bank, which was piled high with debris caused by dredging. As the man bent down to pick up a stone to throw for his dog his eye caught shiny objects amongst the gravel. The Coroner declared the hoard treasure trove and the hoard came to the Ashmolean Museum.
The Abbey of the Thame
In medieval England clothing and jewellery became an important means of expressing wealth and status. The degree of ornamentation, and quality of materials used, set the upper classes apart from the poorer citizens. Gold rings in particular were considered prestigious items of decoration and by the middle of the fourteenth century a decree had been introduced making it legal only for the upper classes to wear such symbols of status.

We do not know for sure why the rings and coins in this hoard came to be deposited. One suggestion is that the reliquary ring may have belonged to Robert King, elected abbot of Thame in 1529. In November 1539 the abbey was surrendered to the King, and the objects may have been lost in flight or hidden until negotiations were completed, but were never collected.

The reliquary ring is set with an amethyst in the shape of a double armed cross and may have once contained a holy relic. It is engraved on the back with the crucifixion and is inscribed (in Latin) ‘Remember me, O Lord’.

Reliquary ring from the Thame Hoard

Back of Thame Hoard Reliquary ring which is engraved with the crucifixion and is inscribed (in Latin) ‘Remember me, O Lord’

The five rings contained within the Thame Hoard are all made of gold. Three of them include stones believed to have magical properties. Ring b is set with a peridot, ring c with a toadstone and ring d with turquoise. Peridots were believed to offer protection to their wearers; toadstone (in fact fossilised fish teeth and nothing to do with toads) was supposed to bring a man victory over his enemies; while turquoise was believed to change colour if placed near poison.

Rings a (left) and b (right) from the Thame  Hoard

Rings c (left) and d (right) from the Thame Hoard

Ten silver groats dating from c. 1357 – 1457 were recovered alongside the rings. The earliest coins in the hoard were minted in London and display the portraits of the monarchs Edward III, Richard II and Henry V. The remaining seven coins display the portrait of Henry VI and were minted in Calais.

The lack of wear on many of these coins shows they had not long been in circulation when they were lost. The coins are particularly important as they help us to date the hoard to after 1457 (on the basis of the date of the latest coin).

Reposted from Ashmolean Museum