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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Coil Bracelet
Work Type
8th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Geometric period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Cast, lost-wax process
h. 4.2 x diam. 6.3 x w. (of coil) 1 cm (1 11/16 x 2 1/2 x 3/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin
Other Elements: lead, iron, arsenic

K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: Both 1920.44.220 and 1920.44.267 have a similar method of manufacture. Both were cast by the lost-wax process, probably as a strip with the finials at the end, and then hammered from the inside into a coil in order to avoid damaging the very fine, crisp detail of the outer surface. The inner surface of 1920.44.267, although flat, preserves small dents from hammering. The central ridge, which is triangular in section, and the fine parallel ridges along the outer rims of the coil were probably already present in the wax and enhanced in the metal.

Both bracelets are highly mineralized in some areas, in particular where the rims have come in contact with each other, which has resulted in the loss of some of these areas. Most of the surface is dark green and covered with lumpy green and red cuprite corrosion pustules and coarse, sandy, tan burial accretions. In a few areas, the metal is very well preserved and even gives off metallic glints. 1920.44.220 is incomplete and is missing one end of the coil and finial. That same bracelet also has what looks like an ancient repair; two parts of the broken band overlap by c. 1.3 cm and seem to be riveted together. The outside section has been thinned down, with the central raised area hollowed out to allow the other section to slot into it more exactly. A crack in the heavily mineralized repair area may also have been glued together more recently, but this is not detectable by ultraviolet illumination.

Francesca G. Bewer (submitted 2012)


Recorded Ownership History
Miss Elizabeth Gaskell Norton, Boston, MA and Miss Margaret Norton, Cambridge, MA (by 1920), gift; to the Fogg Art Museum, 1920.

Note: The Misses Norton were daughters of Charles Elliot Norton (1827-1908).

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of the Misses Norton
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
1920.44.220 and 1920.44.267 are four-coil bracelets that belong to a group of Geometric bracelets, which are well known from central and southern Greece and date to the eighth century BCE (1). It is unclear how the coiling was achieved. Each bracelet was presumably cast in a single long rod and then bent into coils by annealing. The coils are flat on the interior, with a triangular ridge in the center of the exterior. The terminals consist of a biconical bead, from which extends a short grooved cylindrical element that terminates in a conical projection. The bracelets are heavily corroded, with some sections missing along the edges. 1920.44.220 is missing one terminal. There is a repair, presumably ancient, where a break has been fixed by overlapping two edges.

The date appears to be somewhere in the eighth century BCE, more likely during the second half, c. 750-700 BCE


1. For comparisons, see J. Bouzek, “Die Armringe der Sammlung Bellos aus Theben,” Forschungen und Berichte, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Archäologische Beiträge 16 (1974): 161-67, esp. 161-62, Groups A and B, nos. 1-3 and 4.a, fig. 1.1-2, pl. 11.

David G. Mitten

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

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