1st century BC — mid 1st century AD
Discovered in 1879, found in Female burial, Birdlip Gloucestershire.
“Buried with a group of iron-age treasures around AD 50 along with the owner. In 1879 workmen discovered three skeletons in a quarry between Crickley and Birdlip overlooking the Vale of Gloucester. With the bones were some amazing Iron Age artifacts. The most important object is a handheld mirror of bronze.”
“The Birdlip mirror design on the back of the bronze mirror is etched in to the metal. The pattern is composed of interlocking triskeles which end in groups of two or three flourishes. The handle of the mirror consists of a series of interlocking loops, the final loop, encloses another smaller circle of metal. Red enamel dots can be found on this circle, as well as on the top of the handle, where the handle meets the body of the mirror. This area could be defined as a pelta, or a small mushroom shape, similar in form to the Egyptian lotus bud.”
The front of this was originally highly polished for reflections, but the rear is decorated with flowing patterns worked into the metal. It is one of the finest items of Celtic art to survive in Britain and perhaps the finest example housed outside a national museum. The smaller items are also remarkable. There are fine bronze bowls and bracelets. The stylised face of a bird or animal can be seen in a silver gilt brooch and a bronze knife handle is shaped as the head of a bull or ox. There is also a bead necklace of amber and an exotic stone possible collected from as far away as China.