Mold Gold Cape, c. 1900-1600 BC
465 (length) x 280 (width) x 235 (height) mm
Found at Mold, Wales


Legend has it that, in 1833, local workmen quarrying for stone in a burial mound near the village of Mold in North Wales spotted a ghostly boy in gold. Later, digging at the site of this apparition, stonebreakers discovered an ancient stone-lined grave containing bronze objects, amber beads, and the remains of a skeleton, whose age and sex remain undetermined. Beneath these remains, were found the fragments of an elaborate and very fragile gold cape.
The embossed cape, really more like a poncho, is too restrictive to be worn daily, and must be understood as ceremonial in nature. The proportions suggest that it belonged to a teenager or woman. Along the upper and lower edges are perforations indicating that it was attached to a lining, possibly leather. Laboriously beaten from a single ingot of gold, the cape represents one of the finest examples of Bronze Age sheet-gold production. It was probably worked from the inside and then punched with decoration to simulate several strings of carefully-spaced beads, running from one shoulder to another. The complexity of design and uniqueness of the piece demonstrate the high status of its owner and evidence a complex European trade network at this time.


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