Gold ornament


British Museum

British Museum

This is a small strip of gold with tiny cut-out figures. It was originally part of a very rich object, but is now in fragments. The image includes a painted reconstruction in the background to show what it once may have looked like. Many of the figures represent Hittite gods. They look like the rock-carvings at Yazilikaya; an open-air shrine, dating to the thirteenth century BC, located near the Hittite capital Hattusa (modern Bogazköy) in central Turkey.

This gold ornament was found in a rich grave at Carchemish. Cremated bones were placed in pot along with cylinder of lapis lazuli, gold beads, inlaid gold figures and gold tassels from the ends of a belt. The grave dates from the seventh century BC but the objects are much older, 13th century BC; so they were probably heirlooms. Unusually for a cremation, it was buried within the walls of the city; most such burials were made outside the settlement walls at that time. The burial was discovered by Leonard Woolley and he suggested the burial belonged to an important person who died during the siege of Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, in 605 BC.

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  • Title: Gold ornament
  • Date Created: -1299/-1200
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 1.00in (Largest); Width: 0.50in (Largest)
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 1922,0511.378
  • Place: Excavated/Findspot Carchemish
  • Period/culture: Hittite
  • Material: gold
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Excavated by Woolley, Charles Leonard


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