Prehistoric Britain: a Key Stage 2 guide to the Mold Cape
Archaeologists have investigated how the Mold Cape was decorated using metal stamps to create an embossed pattern which looked like strings of beads and folds of fabric.
Embossing is a way of making a pattern by pressing stamps into the back of sheet metal. This pushes out the front surface of the metal to create a textured surface.
Experiment with embossing using craft foil. This can be embossed using a blunt pencil to draw lines into the foil or by pressing down with the rounded end to create dots.
Trying on the cape helps archaeologists to decide how it was worn and who might have worn it.
Discuss who you think might have worn the cape and why.
Write a first-person account of wearing the cape during the British Bronze Age.
Here are some questions to consider while planning the account: Who are you? What is your role in your community? Where are you when you wear the cape? What is happening around you – what can you see and hear? How do you feel when you are wearing the cape?
This fragment from the edge of the Mold Cape has holes punched through the gold sheet.
A row of holes along the bottom edge of the cape suggest that something was sewn onto it; perhaps a cloak which hung down below the cape.
Imagine that this cloak was decorated. Look at other British Bronze Age objects to find out what patterns and motifs were popular during this period. Use these as inspiration for designing a cloak to hang below the cape.
Create a full size cloak on fabric/paper – using drawing, painting, stenciling or printing – based on the different design ideas presented by the class.
These two fragments of gold from the Mold Cape survived in the ground for over 2500 years.
Materials are affected in different ways when they are buried. Gold is a very stable material and survives for thousands of years in the ground but not everything from the Mold burial survived.
Test what happens to different materials such as wood, fabric, metal, stone and plant material (e.g. an apple) when they are buried in soil.
Bury a range of materials and record what happens to them after a week, a month or a whole term. Decide if the soil will be wet or dry, hot or cold.
How does this help us understand what sort of evidence from the past archaeologists find?
Look for Bronze Age objects on the Teaching History in 100 Objects website.
Explore a 3D scan of the Mold Cape.
Find out more about the British Museum learning offer for schools .
Mold Cape Key Stage 2 guide created at the British Museum by
Katharine Hoare (Learning and National Partnerships)
Neil Wilkins (Britain, Europe and Prehistory)