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.

Bronze Age Golden Hats

Golden hats (or Gold hats) are a very specific and rare type of archaeological artifact from Bronze Age Europe. So far, four such objects ("cone-shaped gold hats of the Schifferstadt type") are known. The objects are made of thin sheet gold and were attached externally to long conical and brimmed headdresses which were probably made of some organic material and served to stabilise the external gold leaf.

Golden Hat of Schifferstadt, found in 1835 at Schifferstadt near Speyer, circa 1400–1300 BC.

The Golden Hat of Schifferstadt  was discovered in a field near the town of Schifferstadt in Southwest Germany in 1835. It is a Bronze Age artefact made of thin sheet gold and served as the external decoration of a head-dress, probably of an organic material, with a brim and a chin-strap.

The Avanton Cone  found at Avanton near Poitiers in 1844, circa 1000–900 BC.
The Avanton Gold Cone or Avanton Conecirca 1000–900 BC is a late Bronze Age artefact, belonging to the group of Golden hats, only four of which are known so far.

The Avanton Cone was the second such object to be discovered (after the Golden Hat of Schifferstadt). It was found in 1844 in a field near the village of Avanton, about 12 km north of Poitiers, France. The object was damaged; comparison with other finds suggests that a part (the brim) is missing. The remaining part of the Avanton cone is 55 cm long and weighs 285 g. Originally dated to the Middle Bronze and suggested to be a fertility symbol, it now appears to be of later date and more complex function.

Golden Cone of Ezelsdorf-Buch, found near Ezelsdorf near Nuremberg in 1953, circa 1000–900 BC; the tallest known specimen at c. 90 cm.

The Golden Cone of Ezelsdorf-Buch is a Late Bronze Age artefact discovered in 1953 between the villages of Ezelsdorf (Franconia) and Buch (Bavaria) in Southern Germany. A tall (88 cm), cone-shaped object made of thin sheet gold. It was presumably worn by special functionaries on ceremonial occasions.

Berlin Gold Hat, found probably in Swabia or Switzerland, circa 1000–800 BC; acquired by the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, Berlin, in 1996.

The Berlin Gold Hat or Berlin Golden Hat is a Late Bronze Age artifact made of thin gold leaf. It served as the external covering on a long conical brimmed headdress, probably of an organic material. It is now in the Neues Museum on Museum Island in Berlin, in a room by itself with an elaborate explanatory display.

The Berlin Gold Hat is the best preserved specimen among the four known conical Golden hats known from Bronze Age Europe so far. All were found in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is generally assumed that the hats served as the insignia of deities or priests in the context of a sun cult that appears to have been widespread in Central Europe at the time. The hats are also suggested to have served astronomical/calendrical functions.

Eberswalde Hoard

The Eberswalde Hoard or Treasure of Eberswalde is a Bronze Age hoard of 81 gold objects with a total weight of 2.59 kg (83 ozt). The largest prehistoric assembly of gold objects ever found in Germany, it is considered to be one of the most important finds from the Central European Bronze Age. Today, it is in Russia, as part of the group of artifacts and works of art taken from Germany at the end of the Second World War.

After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Eberswalde Hoard disappeared from the Berlin museum, along with the so-called "Treasure of Priam". The suspicion that the Red Army might have removed both finds was denied by the Soviets for decades. After Russian president Boris Yeltsin admitted that "Priam's Treasure" was in Russian hands, the authorities ceased to explicitly deny that they also held Eberswalde Hoard. In 2004, a reporter from German magazine Der Spiegel located it in a secret depot within Moscow's Pushkin Museum. Germany has request return of the materials, and the issue has caused tension between the German and Russian governments.

The hoard had been deposited in a globular vessel with a lid. In it were eight gold bowls, which contained another 73 gold objects. The bowls were thin-walled chased gold vessels with copious ornamental decoration. The other objects included neck rings, bracelets and 60 wire arm spirals. 55 double spirals were tied into bundles. A gold ingot, a piece of metal shaped like a crucible and two smaller pieces probably represent raw material for the production of such objects. The treasure belongs to the goldsmith known as Villena-type, for its resemblance to the Treasure of Villena.

Etruscan Gold

Etruscan Situla da ChiusiVII secolo a.C. Firenze, Museo Archeologico Etruscan

Etruscan gold cup C..675 BC Palestrina,Tomb Bernardini a pervert name for an Etruscan tomb Villa Giulia museum. Rome

Etruscan embossed bulla of polished gold depicting a chariot race and their charioteer drawn by four winged horses. Vulci -C.400 BCE Gregorian Etruscan Museum

Etruscan Straight Pin, c. 500 BC Italy, Etruscan, late 6th Century BC gold and glass

Etruscan Ring, 4th century BC-3rd century BC

ETRUSCAN GOLD FILIGREE EARRINGS Openwork ribbons filled with wire bands, bosses, scrolls. Probably from Vetulonia Ca. 1st quarter of the 7th Century BC

Etruscan. Gold Winged female figure Louvre. 6th century BCE. Unknown origin

The Comerford Crown, a Bronze Age gold ‘hat’ from Tipperary

The Comerford Crown

The Comerford Crown is striking gold artifact, whose origins probably lie in the Late Bronze Age. It was discovered in 1692 in a peat bog at Bearna Eile (The Devil’s Bit), Co. Tipperary. As the picture above shows, it was profusely decorated, in what was most likely repousse ornamentation. An extraordinary object, the crown must have created a considerable stir when found.  It soon caught the eye of a Mr. Joseph Comerford, who purchased it and subsequently brought it to Châteaux de Anglure in Champagne, France, where he was then resident. Unfortunately, the crown went missing soon afterwards.

Bowls of Axtroki.

Parallels for this precious object can be found in continental Europe, where a small number of gold hats/vessels are recorded from Bronze Age contexts. In the northwest of the Iberian peninsula, for example, at least three gold hats or bowls have been recovered that are strikingly similar to the Comerford Crown. Fashioned out of carefully hammered gold, they are covered in repoussé decoration that is comparable to the Tipperary crown, especially the circular motifs and banded ornamentation.

Bowls of Axtroki are gold bowls semi-spherical in shape finished in a curved border. It could have served as a bowl or a helmet.

At the time it was found in a site in Axtroki (province of Guipuzcoa) with another smaller bowl inside. It has recently been proposed that both pieces could actually be ceremonial helmets or hats used in some form of rite or ceremony.

Their geometrical decoration has been interpreted as a symbol of the sun.

The Comerford Crown is not the only Bronze Age ‘hat’ recorded from Ireland and in the late 17th century a second gold crown/vessel  was found nearby at the Bog of Cullen, Co. Tipperary. Known locally as the Golden Bog, due to the sheer quantity of artifacts recovered from its depths during the 17th and 18th centuries, this morass appears to have been an important ritual site during the Late Bronze Age. Unfortunately, very few of the objects found in the bog have survived to the present day and the gold ‘crown’ is no different. In 1744 it was purchased by a Limerick Jeweller, Joseph Kinshalloe, who melted down the artifact to produce 6 ounces worth of gold. Another gold ‘crown’, described rather unusually as shaped like a shell, was also discovered in Co. Limerick at Kilpeacon in 1821. Regrettably, this object was similarly melted down for bullion.