|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.