The Mold Gold Cape

The beautiful Mold Gold Cape is certainly worth having another look at. This wonderful article was found in 1833 by workmen quarrying for stone when they came upon a stone cist. They had been digging in a burial mound named Bryn yr Ellylon, the Ghost or Goblins’ Hill near Mold, Wales. The person in the cist was wearing the cape. Unfortunately the skeletal remains were fragmentary and the cape crushed and broken into several pieces. Many pieces were removed by various people, and it took many years to gather as much as possible.

At first it was thought to have been a corselet or breast plate which passed beneath the arms, but by 1904 the British Museum was presenting it as a chest ornament for a pony. By 1950, it was finally suggested that it could be a cape. Another fifty two years went by before all the pieces had been put together, which proved that it was a cape. A cape which would only have fitted a slight person, thought to have been a woman. No weapons, axe, mace, ‘wrist guards’ or other male accoutrements were found with this person.

                                                                             The Amazing Detail

The cape was made out of a single ingot of gold, which was then decorated with rows and rows of different shapes. It looks rather like strands of beads between folds of cloth. The motifs have both Continental and indigenous roots. Some similar designs have been found in France, which are believed to have drawn on designs from central Europe. The lenticular bosses have been found on bronze spacer plates for a necklace  in Migdale, Scotland, and on a bronze armlet from Melfort, Scotland. This motif, surrounded by fine dots outlining the shape, seems to have been used in Scotland for some time, and appears to be part of the indigenous repertoire. This cape is unlike anything found from that time period, or any other period. The craftsman was an exceptional goldsmith, with an impressive artistic flair. It must have made a huge impression on all those who saw this object. At that time, 1900-1600 BCE, it is estimated that there may have only been fifty bronze daggers in all of the UK and Ireland. So most folks were still using stone tools, while this person was walking about with a gold cape.

I think of these shapes as houses (large domes); seeds (small domes); lenticular shapes (beans); pyramid shapes ( temples?); rectangular shapes (metal ingots). However, the most standard shape of ingots in ancient times is shown in fig. A. A hieroglyph from Urartu, an Iron Age kingdom around Lake Van and Lake Urmia, looks more like fig. B. So perhaps these shapes are meant to be ingots of metal.

It is believed that this very wealthy person may have had connections to the Great Orme copper mine, which was the biggest copper mine in Europe at that time. Who and what was this person? Queen? Priestess? The Oracle? “Oracles are best in the defence”, says the side of the Queen Stone which points in the direction of  North Wales. The Neolithic house below, named Cul a Bhail, was found on Jura, an island off the west coast  of Scotland. It is very much like a tholos, although they were more dome shaped. But different materials sometimes make for a slightly different shape. The tholoi on Cyprus had stone foundations and mud brick domes, and in Mesopotamia they were made from mud brick. The mud brick was plastered over with adobe, while this house was made of stone, wood and thatch but the basic idea is the same.

                                                                            Cul a Bhail, Jura

There were bronze straps, other flat pieces of gold work, and 200 to 300 amber beads found with the cape. The bronze straps are thought to have given the cape extra support. The other gold pieces are a puzzle, no one seems to know what they may have been. It is thought that the cape was lined with leather, and decorated with the amber beads at the neckline and at the bottom. This could have been done all in one step. The amber beads would have covered the holes in the gold around the edges. This article has no designs the same as those found on the treasures from Bush Barrow, Golden Barrow, or Clandon Barrow. Although it has been dated 1900-1600 BCE just like Bush Barrow and the others, it isn’t known whether the same person made this cape.

I did find a similar design element on a Vinca bowl, which is quite a bit older than the cape. Possibly older by 2000 years. However, this is quite interesting due to the fact that Ogham has many of the same symbols which are found among Vinca or Old European script.                                                                            Vinca bowl

 Vinca or Old European script with Ogham symbols underlined with red.  The people of the Vinca culture are the oldest metallurgists to date. Their culture seems to have come to an end around 3200 BCE, more or less pushed out by other Indo-Europeans migrating in, at which time many of these people migrated to other places. Vinca territory included Serbia, and parts of Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. The Varna culture, also in that area and closer to the Black Sea, was not far from Vinca territory, and they were making gold ornaments in 5000 BCE. There were so many ornaments that archaeologists came to the conclusion that these were very common, everyday decorations, since they were found all over the settlements, and not just in graves. This whole area eventually became Thrace. The Thracians were well known for their beautiful metal work. The following map shows the dispersal pattern of the Vinca in green. Their artefacts have been found as far away as France. And perhaps Wales?

There are several reasons for this theory. The biggest copper mine in Europe was at the Great Orme in Wales at the time when the cape was made. Ogham uses many Vinca symbols. The Vinca spoke a Proto-Indo-European language, wherein W and Y were used both as vowels and consonants. This is also why the Welsh language seems full of consonants, but W is pronounced oo or eu in Welsh, and Y is usually pronounced as I. This makes a word such as Llwyd seem so impossible to say. Ll also has its own pronunciation which is impossible to describe on paper. The last piece of this theory has to do with Y haplogroup E1b1b1, it is one of the unusual varieties in the British Isles, and is said to have spread from the Balkans, which is where the Vinca culture was. In the North Wales town of Abergele, 33% of the men tested, carried this DNA.

The three blue squares are at Mold, Abergele and the Great Orme. Abergele is closer to the copper mine than Mold is. Did some of the Vinca make it to Wales, take up mining copper, and become wealthy enough to have the gold cape made?

The picture above shows a painted Vinca vase, the date is not given, but would be before 3200 BCE, and possibly a thousand years older. It has a design made like an M, but it is actually two separate pieces which make up this M. It’s more like a 7 and a backward 7. This sign can be found several times in the script, used several different ways. In this case there is a face above the V. It looks like the Akhet again. The Sun between two mountain peaks. Looks very much like the Akhet on the Folkton Drums. The Balkans are named Old Europe, it had settlements of 2500 people and more, a thousand years before such things show up in Mesopotamia, unless the dates for that area are incorrect. This was a well organized society with orderly villages, farming, fishing, gathering and hunting. There seems to have been enough surplus food so that people had extra time for pottery, weaving, mining and metallurgy. Their religion was based on the Mother Goddess, the Earth and her attendant the Bull/Sun God. That isn’t all that different from Celtic religion with its Triple Goddess, the Earth, and Cernunnos, her stag/man/Sun consort. The bull has been an important symbol since very ancient times. Some of the oldest ‘cult’ figures were small stone bulls made at Mureybet. It figures heavily in Celtic art. The Vinca culture was already a well developed society by 5000 BCE, and may be at the root of all later higher civilizations, such as Sumer, Egypt and Crete. Then again, we haven’t seen everything which will be excavated at Gobekli Tepe as yet. Their stone carving was very advanced for 9000 BCE.

Archaeology is full of puzzles and amazing finds, which are changing our view of the people in ancient times. Thanks to modern technology, anyone can scan the earth for geoglyphs, odd formations, see the different colours in fields, indicating buildings, tumuli, roads, etc. Or they can look at the ocean floor, and spot ancient flooded settlements, old coastlines, ancient lakes and rivers, and sometimes find things which look like roads. It’s a fascinating world, I just wish we knew more about it.

References and Pictures

Gold Mold Cape; The British Museum, Wrexham Museum, Wikipedia

Old Europe by Philip Coppens

Vinca Culture; Projekat Rastko: and Professor Nenad Tasic about Vinca and world archaeology, from examiner.com

Vinca footed bowl and article, Internet Library of Serbian Culture: Archaeology.

Vinca vase from Oracle ThinkQuest

Vinca Culture, Wikipedia

Vinca symbols, Wikipedia

Old Europe (archaeology) Wikipedia

Map of Neolithic expansion, Wikipedia

Genetic History of the British Isles, Wikipedia

Proto-Indo-European-Language, Wikipedia

House on Jura, theisleofjura.co.uk

Map of North Wales, touristnet.uk.com

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The Golden Barrow Treasures

The Golden Barrow or Upton Lovell G2e was near the River Wylye, slightly South West of Stonehenge. Since its excavation in 1803, it has been destroyed. This barrow contained as  many costly and interesting treasures as the Bush Barrow. There was more than one cremation found in this barrow, but the treasures only seem to have been with one person. It isn’t known whether this was a man or a woman, since necklaces may have been worn by anyone. On the other hand, the Wessex lord in the Bush Barrow had no necklaces with him, nor did the Amesbury Archer, nor his family member, who may have been his son. He also had gold ‘hair tresses’. Perhaps this particular person was a woman.

William Cunnington had the following to say about this barrow.

“TUMULUS XX (AW 98) Copy of a letter to H. P. Wyndham Esq July 28th 1803

Sir I have this day opened a barrow in Upton Lovell it is situated in the meads a few yards north of the river Wylye. As the discoveries in this barrow are more important in their nature than any other ever yet made I hasten to inform you the particulars. This Barrow of a pyramidal form or rather like the common houses, pointing East to West, is in the base 52 by 32 feet, the slope 22 feet, the length on top 22 feet. The North side of the barrow is extremely ? the south side is much mutilated. On making a section lengthways of the barrow, at about two feet deep we found in a very shallow cist human burnt bones piled in a little heap, and at a foots distance a considerable quantity of ashes, which also contained small fragments of human bones, upon which and at two feet distant from the bones were found the following articles of pure gold, which are neatly wrought and highly polished, viz about ten gold beads* made in the form of a drum ? two ends to ……off and perforated in the sides…see Plate XI fig 5…….. a thin plate of the same metal…….nearly 9 inches by 6 inches long, this is very neatly ornamented as you will see by plate XI fig ?………by a beautiful Bulla of conical form, see figure 3 in the same plate- and inside this is a solid cone of wood, the gold which completely covered it is very thin, at the base are two holes for a thread or wire by which it was suspended see fig 4. near the above were found of four gold articles viz.. two of which that appeared once to have covered the ends of staffs (some of my friends say they are small boxes. see plate XI fig 1 and 2. Among the gold ornaments lay several flat pieces of amber, about the eighth of an inch in thickness, and about an inch wide, -they were all perforated lengthways but were sadly broken in getting out. ( see plate two fig 2 when joined they were the exact form of those found in Deverell Barrow only bigger). What is very extraordinary there were also nearly one thousand  amber beads of different sizes see Plat X fig 2. – Close to the pile of ashes we found a very small urn see Plate X fig 1. Also a lance head of brass and a pin of the same metal-see the same plate. The urn is of very extraordinary form, appearing as though it had been studded all over with small black grapes. In this barrow, contrary to the usual custom of interment on the Downs, which is generally on, or in the native soil we found the cist nearly on top of the barrow and this deviation was probably occasioned by the wetness of the soil, the barrow being near the river. We find in other respects a similar method of internment to what we find in many other barrows, the small urn, lance head of brass, brass pin etc are common. From the profusion of valuable ornaments, for valuable they must have been at the period of their internment, we might naturally conclude this barrow to have been the sepulchre of a great chief of the Belgic + Britons. +Mr. Coxe objects to the word Belgic, suppose we say British chief near the time of Caesars invasion.” (1)

Shale and amber beads, and the shale core of the gold covered  button

William Cunnington was a wee bit off with his dates, since it is now thought that the cremation dates 1900-1600 BCE, but like Bush Barrow, it could be older.  The gold artefacts from both barrows do look as if the same person made them. At the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, the bronze lance head is listed as a knife dagger, and the bronze pin is listed as an awl. The above amber and shale beads are believed to have been a necklace.

The gold beads, which were drum shaped, approximately 1/2 an inch long, had ends which could be screwed off, they were small containers, and could be opened even while being worn, perhaps as part of a bracelet, with the gold button used as a fastener. The button would have been on the outside of the arm. This fancy button is gold  foil over shale, named a Bulla by William Cunnington, and has holes drilled in a shallow V shape in the bottom. The measurements given for the gold cover are 47 mm in diameter and 43 mm in height.

Gold beads from the Golden Barrow

Gold Button showing top and undersideHow the bracelet may have looked and the method of tying it together.

Once the ends of the cord went through the button, it wouldn’t have to be removed again. It would be untied and loosened when removing it from your arm, but the end of the cord would stay through both holes. These ends may have been decorated with long hair from a cow’s tail, feathers or perhaps some of the amber beads which were found. Bracelets of this general form were commonly seen on the carvings of rulers from Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria. The ones from the area of the Fertile Crescent, usually had a flower on them. The button has the same triangle or zigzag decoration as was found on the large gold lozenge from the Bush Barrow. But the button has an extra surprise. On the bottom the design is the same as the central part of the Clandon Barrow lozenge, which was another device connected to mathematical coding as shown by Martin Doutré. This lozenge must also have been made by the same person.

The Clandon Barrow lozenge construction as drawn by Anthony Johnson

These mathematical codes were quite complicated, and were connected to astronomy, surveying, navigation, calendar keeping, weights, measures and volumes. The various articles which were inscribed with these codes, would have been used as memory devices. A question from a fellow blogger, made me investigate the Rillaton and Ringlemere cups a little closer. These were found at two different places and not with the Golden Barrow treasure.

The Rillaton cup (left) is 9 cm high, and the Ringlemere cup (right) is 11 cm high. One of my measuring cups looks to be about the same size as the Rillaton cup, only a little taller. 9 cm up the side of my cup gives me one pint. These cups may not have been for drinking beverages, instead they may have been measuring cups for some other purpose. The Ringlemere cup may have a pint capacity at the top of the corrugations, and perhaps another measurement when full. It may have held three cups when full. The corrugations likely indicated different measures, both dry and liquid.

A pint is an interesting measure since it can be found in both dry and liquid Imperial measure. Liquid measure: 4 gills = 1 pint; 2 pints = 1 quart; 4 quarts = 1 gallon; 1 gallon = 231 cubic inches. Dry measure: 2 pints = 1 quart; 8 quarts = 1 peck; 4 pecks = 1 bushel; 10 pecks or 2 1/2 bushels = 1 barrel; 1 bushel = 2150.42 cubic inches. Thinking of the other mathematical codes found in the other gold objects, makes me wonder what measurements could be found in each groove of the corrugations. I don’t suppose the British Museum would allow me to conduct an investigation, unfortunately.

The handles on these cups are held to the body by lozenge-shaped rivets. The way they are attached makes them look like small Squares of Enlightenment. These lozenges, zigzags, and triangles are all little signatures of a highly evolved system of weights and measures. All these systems stem from astronomy, and do seem to have been around for thousands of years before we see the proof of such things in the UK and Ireland. However, these people may have used wood, stone, pottery or some other material for their original measuring devices. A piece of simple cord could have had knots tied in it at the appropriate places. It would be small, light and easy to carry around, but such things in the UK and Ireland would have decayed long ago. It’s obvious that whoever made these gold artefacts, had some sort of measuring device, and knew all the mathematical coding. The people using them would also have understood the coding, which means that we are looking at some very well educated people. The mathematics involved are really quite astounding.

Because these artefacts do all seem to be connected to measures of all sorts, based originally on the circumference of the Earth, it is quite possible that the cups, the Clandon Barrow treasure, the Bush Barrow Treasure, and the Golden Barrow treasure were all made by the same craftsman. I don’t imagine there were that many goldsmiths running about in those days who would have all this knowledge. In ancient times smiths were considered holy because they used the four ancient elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water to make their artistic creations. In Egypt they were a priesthood, they were the magicians who could turn a solid substance into a liquid, and then reshape the hardened metal into whatever shape they wanted. The biggest percentage of the population would still have been using stone tools, so these ‘ornaments’ must have been mind-boggling for anyone who saw them. The Amesbury Archer being the foremost candidate as craftsman, since he had the gold ‘hair tresses’, the metal working kit, and the ‘wrist guards’ which were actually measuring devices. Perhaps the hair tresses were a sign of their profession.

Getting back to these interesting gold beads, they had me wondering what was kept in the containers. What were they for? What use did they have? They were strung together through two holes in the sides rather than two holes through the ends, which would have made it possible to separate one from its companions to be able to undo one of the lids, but why? I had several thoughts about this. Perhaps special powders were kept in them for creating green smoke, red smoke or sparkles when applied to a fire. Done on the sly of course, the peasants wouldn’t have known that there were special powders hiding in the bracelet. Such things were generally done after dark, so the only light may have been the fire.

But then I thought perhaps this person was keeping track of different women’s pregnancies. One container per person, and after each month went by, you would add a grain seed or perhaps a small piece of gravel. Questions would have been asked to determine which phase of the Moon, and how long ago this person thought they became pregnant. However, it is also possible that they were keeping track of different weights belonging to various systems. Wheat seeds were once at the root of weight measures. This is why we still have, grains, as a weight measure. Among the Hebrew desert weight (light) measures  can be found 131.25 grains. Having some wheat seed on hand, I did a little experiment. Each one of these gold containers could hold 12 wheat seeds, making a total of 132 if all the containers held 12 each. This bracelet now becomes a great deal more than just jewellery. The button likely had measures in its size and decorations. Drawing a triangle with base 47 cm and height 43 cm, pretty much gives you an equilateral triangle. The central mathematical codes of the Clandon Barrow lozenge are also on the bottom of the button. Considering what else has been discovered, coloured smoke seems rather lame. But who knows? These people were into dual purpose things.

           

The next piece is a gold plaque 144 mm by 68 mm, according to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum. It once had a wood back as did the two large gold lozenges. I’ve been stringing lines on it out of curiosity. The large lozenge has angles of 80° and 100°, these are the same as the large gold lozenge from the Bush Barrow. This area may have been connected to Solar/Lunar measurements. The tiny lozenges in the net at each end of the plaque have angles of 60° and 120°, which is what the small gold lozenge from the Bush Barrow had. This net is reminiscent of the lozenges I strung across England, which had to do with surveying. As a final bonus it has cording around the edge, the measuring cord. If the museum’s measurements are correct, then the circumference of the plaque would be 424 mm or 42.4 cm. 10 cm = 4 inches. So the circumference would be 16.96 inches. Dividing 16.96 by the magic number of hidden secrets, 4, I get 4.24 inches, which is a reflection and progression of 424 mm and 42.4 cm. This is the magic of metrology, all numbers in all systems are interconnected, having stemmed from one source, the Great Pyramid, which many consider to be much older than Khufu, who is supposed to have had it built.

Although I am not a mathematician, I’d say this gold plaque is likely full of mathematical coding, just like the gold lozenges. Seems these gold artefacts were more than mere jewellery, they were memory devices covering a wide range of measurements of all types. Being made of gold, they wouldn’t rot, their hidden knowledge has been there all the time, but few people have recognized their significance, thinking of them just as ornaments instead. Considering their function, they may be much older than Bush Barrow or Golden Barrow. They could well have been heirlooms when they were finally buried, possibly dating back to before 2300 BCE.  These articles may have been the ‘gold standard’, literally, of measurements in England at that time. They may have been used by the elite to keep an eye on the merchants’ measures, to make sure they were not short-changing the common folk. The Bell Beakers may have become so popular because they may have held a certain capacity or capacities, and became a common man’s measuring device all over Europe.

Two conical bosses and two flat pommels were found also. These were first interpreted by Sir Richard Colt-Hoare as small boxes, but William Cunnington found them several inches apart, suggesting they were the ends of two wooden sceptres. Unfortunately it doesn’t tell us how long these sceptres may have been. They may have been measuring rods, rather than just sceptres. This would be in keeping with the other measuring devices.

This last piece is quite fascinating. It is thought to have been an incense burner. Although several incense burners have been found in various barrows, this one is unique. There are 108 small knobs, which seem to have been applied to the pottery one by one. There were holes drilled into the pottery between these nodules. It’s rather made like a net.

All in all, these treasures are quite amazing, particularly all the mathematical coding found in these pieces. They must have been incredibly costly at that stage in history. Such gold instruments would be extremely costly now, even the lunula shaped amber necklace would cost a fortune today. Who were the people who owned these items? Have we stumbled upon the people named the Tuatha Danann? Were they the people of the goddess Anu, D’Anu, or should that be the god Anu, or his wife Antu? The Abantu of South Africa are Ab Antu, the children of Antu. D’Anu in Sumerian would mean, of Anu. This puts us back with Anu’s White Temple and Inanna’s Temple in Uruk. The artefacts from England that we have been looking at had the same design elements as the cone mosaics at Inanna’s Temple.  It’s all those names, Danann, Manannan, Inanna. The earliest form of Bran the Blessed’s name was Uran, which became Vran, and then Bran. Uran from Ur or Uruk? I am not through investigating these gold artefacts, and am making further enquiries regarding these. I will post my findings at a later date……….I hope.

References and pictures

For anyone interested in the mathematics which has been found at Stonehenge and on the Bush Barrow and Clandon Barrow lozenges, see Martin Doutré’s work at Ancient Celtic New Zealand, and D. P. Gregg’s, The Stonehenge Codes, which is in PDF form, so you can download it and read it at your leisure, it will take a while. For other measurements of various landmarks, megaliths, and ancient constructions in many countries, see Ancient-wisdom.co.uk. This is an excellent site with clear concise facts and plenty of detail and great pictures.

(1) William Cunnington, Manuscript Letters, Vol., p.35-6

Wiltshire Heritage Museum, articles and pictures of the Golden Barrow treasures, listed as Upton Lovell G2e.

British Museum, the Rillaton and Ringlemere cups

Drawing of the Clandon Barrow lozenge construction method, Anthony Johnson, at Wikipedia entitled Clandon Barrow.

Drawings of the amber and shale necklace, and the gold bracelet, J. Rankin